Coming of age in rural America : sense of purpose, coping, and perceived progress toward adulthood Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/5d86p4237

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  • Individuals in their 20s today have more diverse experiences with school, work, and family transitions than previous cohorts. Contemporary young adults take longer to finish school, settle into marriages or partnerships, and begin parenting; they frequently change jobs or hold multiple part-time positions. Little is known about how young adults evaluate their progress toward adulthood in light of these prolonged and variable transitions, especially among rural youth. Rural communities are often idealized as being supportive of youth, yet rural communities also bring limited opportunities and unique challenges for young people. This study examines perceptions of progress toward adulthood among 201 young adults aged 18-32 who were raised in a rural setting. Using survey data and path analyses, the project explores how perceived progress toward adulthood is shaped by community support, adult transitions (e.g., living apart from parents), sense of purpose, and proactive coping. Results indicate that those who have a more purposeful outlook and stronger coping skills also have a stronger sense of progress toward adulthood. In addition, the achievement of a greater number of transitions indirectly influences perceived progress toward adulthood through sense of purpose and proactive coping. Participants who feel more supported by their community also have stronger proactive coping skills. These mitigating factors yield insights into how families, schools, and communities might facilitate a more stable transition to adulthood for rural youth.
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