Manzoni, Anna (2016). Conceptualizing and measuring youth independence multidimensionally in the United States. Acta Sociologica.
vol. 59 (4) pp. 362-377
In this paper I borrow from both the transition and cultural perspectives in the sociology of youth to define a new conceptual and empirical framework to analyze independence among young people, accounting for its multifaceted character within the current context of the transition to adulthood in the United States. Applying latent class analysis to data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health, I investigate how objective and subjective indicators of independence relate to one another, and do so differently for different youth. In this way, I empirically extend the understanding of transitions to independence and offer a more nuanced picture than a one-dimensional perspective could do. Accounting for respondents’ age and role transitions marking relevant developmental stages, I identify four groups of youth with different forms of independence. While one group exhibits independence in all the domains considered, most inhabit states of partial independence, with mismatches across indicators. Future research may use this framework to investigate independence, both as an outcome or as an explanatory variable, and to explore differences across subgroups.
June 29, 2016