Is Time to Leave the Nest? Describing and Explaining Time in the Transition from Youth to Adulthood

Monday, 11 July 2016: 11:45
Location: Hörsaal 26 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Background: Time and future perspectives are at the core of biographical studies on youth transition to adulthood. Lifetime, interpreted in terms of age, assumes a twofold interpretation. Years of age are an objective concept but the definition of age groups to study youth is a social construction.
Object: We focus on timing of leaving parental home in Italy and France. The transition of leaving parental home is a complex process calling for both a quantitative description and a qualitative explanation. The subjective dimension is intrinsically associated with lifetime perception and definition of future choices.
Method: The research problem calls for an explanatory mixed-method design. The quantitative analyse is carried out employing EU SILC cross-sectional analyses (2005 and 2011 panel) to identify which predictors affect the time of leaving home according to levels of education, social origin and gender. Subsequently, semi-structured interviews of Italian and French people aged 20-35 will help identify mechanisms and individual strategies in leaving the parental home.
Results: Main results show how French young people feels to be late in achieving residential autonomy compared to previous generation. Social and familial norms are pushing factors to move out earlier, despite precarious job conditions and readiness. Italian young people use longer time at parent’s home as strategic choice, especially for highly educated young men. In both countries, young people around thirty perceive to be “out of time” as if a mismatch occurs at a global level between what young-adult people are and what they should achieve.
Conclusion: The comparative mixed-method analysis puts light both on cross-national difference in achieving residential autonomy and on how young people perceive the mark of adulthood as age based structure. Emergence of a young-adult category as an intermediate category will have a reflection in both the statistic-demographic domain and the socio-psychological one.