Ready for launch, but to where? Locational attainment and health during the transition to adulthood


Lippert, Adam M. (2013). Ready for launch, but to where? Locational attainment and health during the transition to adulthood.


The availability of resources instrumental to individuals’ life chances, health, and well-being varies considerably across neighborhoods (Macintyre 2007; Sampson, Morenoff, and Gannon-Rowley 2002). Because of this, locational attainment—the process of moving into better or worse neighborhoods—is of longstanding interest to social scientists. Scholars have paid little attention to locational attainment during the transition to adulthood, a stage in life that consists of many transitions that are potentially consequential to locational attainment. This dissertation sheds light on factors related to locational attainment and the health consequences of locational attainment during the transition to adulthood with three studies. The first and second studies examine how combinations of key life transitions coincide with the locational attainments of young women and men as they enter young adulthood. The third study investigates how moving into, out of, or remaining in (non)poor neighborhoods is associated with persistent and onset obesity between adolescence and young adulthood. I draw upon data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, or Add Health. Results of the first study show that young women who bypass college and enter adulthood via family-oriented transitions are the most likely to consistently live in poor neighborhood and move from nonpoor to poor neighborhoods, while women whose transition sets feature delayed family formation and involvement with postsecondary education or employment are the most likely to never live in poor neighborhoods. Findings from the second study show that young men whose transitions to adulthood involve higher education and delayed employment and family formation are at the greatest risk for moving from nonpoor to poor neighborhoods in young adulthood, but those who rapidly enter full-time employment, marriage, and parenthood face a strong chance of consistently living in poor neighborhoods. Finally, results from the third study show that young women, but not men, who consistently live in poor neighborhoods are more likely to be consistently obese between adolescence and young adulthood and to become obese by young adulthood than women who never lived in poor neighborhoods. Overall, the results suggest that certain pathways into adulthood are associated with greater neighborhood poverty exposure, and that accumulated neighborhood poverty exposure is linked to a higher risk for both remaining and becoming obese.



locational attainment health behavior transition to adulthood life chances family formation neighborhoods well being Family Life Changes Ethnic studies Gender studies Demography Social sciences Health Neighborhood effects

Reference Type



Lippert, Adam M.

Series Author(s)

Frisco, Michelle L.

Year Published


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The Pennsylvania State University

City of Publication

Ann Arbor





Reference ID