Early family transitions and depressive symptom changes from adolescence to early adulthood

Alan Booth, Elisa Rustenbach, Susan McHale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

43 Scopus citations


Some research and theory suggest that early cohabitation, parenthood, and marriage have negative long-term implications. Nevertheless, in the context of their resources and opportunities, early transitions may represent positive choices for some individuals. We studied the family and personal characteristics of young adults (N = 8,172) who did, versus those who did not, make early family transitions. We assessed changes in their depressive symptoms from adolescence to young adulthood. Individuals who made early family transitions were disadvantaged in many respects, but differed little from those who did not with respect to changes in depressive symptoms. That they stay "even" with those who do not make transitions suggests that some young adults make positive choices from among limited options.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-14
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Marriage and Family
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2008


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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