Voices of Transition: The Role of Families in Young People’s Transitions

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 10:30
Oral Presentation
Ulrike ZARTLER, University of Vienna, Austria
Susanne VOGL, Universitat Wien, Austria
Veronika WÖHRER, University of Vienna, Austria
During the transition to adulthood, peer relationships have been in the focus of research while the role of family members has been less studied. This contribution sheds light on young people’s transition processes from school to work and on the meaning and relevance they attribute to their families during this life phase. Theoretically based on the life course perspective and on resource theory, we explore how young people perceive and utilize support from their families, but also how families and their ingrained expectations can be ‘in the way’.

The data base consists of biographic-narrative interviews with 107 young people (39 girls, 69 boys) aged between 13 and 16, coming from families mainly with underprivileged socio-economic and many with migration backgrounds. At the time of the interviews, far-reaching choices had to be made, as respondents had to decide about their last compulsory school year, their educational future and their prospective vocational training.

Results showed a great variety in the extent of support and in respondents’ perceptions of support. While many considered parents’, siblings’ and other kin’s experiences as a valuable resource, others experienced it as hinderance. The respondents’ assessment of support by family members had a major impact for young people’s perception of their future prospects as manageable or menacing. We conclude that the family context appeared to be salient for understanding how young people travel through the demanding transition process from school to work.