|Basic InformationMore InformationLatest NewsQuestions and AnswersLinksBook Reviews|100 Things Guys Need to Know3 NBS of Julian DrewA Guide to Asperger SyndromeA Tribe ApartA User Guide to the GF/CF Diet for Autism, Asperger Syndrome and AD/HDA Walk in the Rain With a BrainAdolescent DepressionAfterAggression and Antisocial Behavior in Children and AdolescentsAll Alone in the UniverseAmelia RulesAmericaAnother PlanetAntisocial Behavior in Children and AdolescentsArtemis FowlAssessment and Treatment of Childhood Problems, Second EditionAutistic Spectrum DisordersBad GirlBetween Two WorldsBeyond AppearanceBeyond Diversity DayBig Mouth & Ugly GirlBill HensonBipolar DisordersBody Image, Eating Disorders, and ObesityBody Image, Eating Disorders, and Obesity in YouthBoyBoysBrandedBreaking PointBreathing UnderwaterBringing Up ParentsBullying and TeasingCan't Eat, Won't EatCatalystChild and Adolescent Psychological DisordersChildren Changed by TraumaChildren with Emerald EyesChildren’s Dreaming and the Development of Consciousness City of OneConcise Guide to Child and Adolescent PsychiatryConquering the Beast WithinContentious IssuesCrackedCutDancing in My NuddypantsDemystifying the Autistic ExperienceDescartes' BabyDilemmas of DesireDirtyDoing ItDoing SchoolDying to Be ThinEating an ArtichokeEducating Children With AutismElijah's CupEllison the ElephantEmerald City BluesEmotional and Behavioral Problems of Young ChildrenEvery Girl Tells a StoryFast GirlsFeather BoyFiregirlForever YoungFreaks, Geeks and Asperger SyndromeFreewillGeography ClubGeorgia Under WaterGirl in the MirrorGirlfightingGirlsourceGirlWiseGLBTQGood GirlsGoodbye RuneGranny Torrelli Makes SoupGrowing Up GirlHandbook for BoysHealing ADDHeartbeatHelping Children Cope With Disasters and TerrorismHelping Parents, Youth, and Teachers Understand Medications for Behavioral and Emotional ProblemsHollow KidsHow Children Learn the Meanings of WordsHow to Keep Your Teenager Out of Trouble and What to Do If You Can'tHug MeIntrusive ParentingIt's Me!It's Perfectly NormalJake RileyJoey Pigza Swallowed the KeyJuvenile-Onset SchizophreniaKeeping the MoonKilling MonstersKim: Empty InsideKnocked Out by My Nunga-NungasLaura Numeroff's 10-Step Guide to Living with Your MonsterLearning About School ViolenceLeo the Lightning BugLet Kids Be KidsLiberation's ChildrenLife As We Know ItLisa, Bright and DarkLittle ChicagoLord of the FliesLoserLove and SexLove That DogManicMastering Anger and AggressionMind FieldsMiss American PieMom, Dad, I'm Gay.MonsterMore Than a LabelMyths of ChildhoodNew Hope for Children and Teens with Bipolar DisorderNo Two AlikeNot Much Just Chillin'Odd Girl OutOdd Girl Speaks OutOn the Frontier of AdulthoodOne Hot SecondOne in ThirteenOphelia SpeaksOphelia's MomOur Journey Through High Functioning Autism and Asperger SyndromeOut of the DustOvercoming School AnxietyParenting and the Child's WorldParenting Your Out-Of-Control TeenagerPediatric PsychopharmacologyPeriod PiecesPhobic and Anxiety Disorders in Children and AdolescentsPINSPraising Boys WellPraising Girls WellPretty in PunkPrincess in the SpotlightProblem Child or Quirky Kid?Psychotherapy As PraxisPsychotherapy for Children and AdolescentsRaising a Self-StarterRaising BlazeRaising Resilient ChildrenReclaiming Our ChildrenRedressing the EmperorReducing Adolescent RiskRethinking ADHDReweaving the Autistic TapestryRineke DijkstraRitalin is Not the Answer Action GuideRunning on RitalinSay YesSexual Teens, Sexual MediaSexuality in AdolescenceShooterShort PeopleShould I Medicate My Child?Skin GameSmackSmashedStaying Connected to Your TeenagerStick FigureStoner & SpazStop Arguing with Your KidsStraight Talk about Your Child's Mental HealthStrong, Smart, & BoldStudent DepressionSurvival Strategies for Parenting Children with Bipolar DisorderSurviving OpheliaTaking Charge of ADHD, Revised EditionTaming the Troublesome ChildTargeting AutismTeaching Problems and the Problems of TeachingTeen Angst? NaaahThat SummerThe American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook Of Child And Adolescent PsychiatryThe Arctic IncidentThe Bipolar ChildThe Buffalo TreeThe Bully, the Bullied, and the BystanderThe Carnivorous CarnivalThe Depressed ChildThe Developing MindThe Dragons of AutismThe Dream BearerThe Dulcimer Boy The Einstein SyndromeThe EpidemicThe Eternity CubeThe Explosive ChildThe Field of the DogsThe First IdeaThe Identity TrapThe Inside Story on Teen GirlsThe Little TernThe Mean Girl MotiveThe Men They Will BecomeThe Myth of LazinessThe New Gay TeenagerThe Notebook GirlsThe Nurture AssumptionThe Opposite of InvisibleThe Order of the Poison OakThe Other ParentThe Present Moment in Psychotherapy and Everyday LifeThe Real Truth About Teens and SexThe Rise and Fall of the American TeenagerThe Secret Lives of GirlsThe Sex Lives of TeenagersThe Shared HeartThe Spider and the BeeThe StepsThe Thought that CountsThe Unhappy ChildThe Vile VillageThe Whole ChildThen Again, Maybe I Won'tTherapy with ChildrenThings I Have to Tell YouTouching Spirit BearTrauma in the Lives of ChildrenTreacherous LoveTrue BelieverTwistedUnhappy TeenagersWay to Be!We're Not MonstersWhat about the KidsWhat Would Joey Do?What's Happening to My Body? Book for BoysWhat's Happening to My Body? Book for GirlsWhen Nothing Matters AnymoreWhen Sex Goes to SchoolWhen Your Child Has an Eating DisorderWhere The Kissing Never StopsWhose America?Why Are You So Sad?WinnicottWorried All the TimeYes, Your Teen Is Crazy!You Hear MeYoung People and Mental HealthYour Child, Bully or Victim?
by Richard A. Settersten Jr., Frank F. Furstenberg Jr., and Ruben G. Rumbaut (Editors)
University Of Chicago Press, 2005
Review by Viorel Zaicu, Ph.D. on Jan 23rd 2006
Take one hundred
years. It is an impressive span in time, for a human being. There was wars,
economic breakthroughs, migrations, inventions, revolutions, shifts in the
education style, etc., with all their consequences: new life styles, targets,
habits, expectations, etc. Obviously, one cannot have the same course of life
at the dusk of this period as in the dawn. But where is the biggest difference
in this course? Which are the salient differences in peoples' behaviors? How
much readiness is in our minds and in public authorities minds to "read"
these signs that clearly states that people have new life courses, in which not
only that they do different things, but they do old things at different
The editors and
contributors, many of them members of the MacArthur Research Network on
Transitions to Adulthood and Public Policies, have tried to gather all the
necessary data for a good understanding of the problem. For there is a
problem: early adulthood (or late adolescence) it is a genuine stage in the
life of an individual standing in the threshold of the 21st century.
One can compare
the data cross-national or simply inside the borders of one country. Adulthood
frontier's problem it is not one of the United States, Germany, United Kingdom
or France. It is a problem of all advanced industrialized countries: a problem
of social institutions, such as welfare regimes, labor and housing markets,
religious and educational institutions, and cultural practices, ideologies
values and attitudes, which all shape the individual behavior in the same way
across those countries. There are, of course, national differences, but we can
neglect them -- these differences do not create unique patterns.
to adulthood during the twentieth century is marked by dramatic changes in
education and family formation patterns. Structural and economic shifts drew
people in the cities, and women were drawn in the labor forces, so that the
work and family formation were molded on the new opportunities and habits. Men
and women delayed the marriage and individualized their pathways to adulthood.
Time use patterns show a convergence between men and women, designed by
economic opportunities for young adults and changes in social norms concerning
None of these
aspects remain unrelated to the others. Obviously, certain combinations between
gender, ethnicity, education, etc. are more favorable for a smooth way towards
adulthood than others. It is also obvious that some social policies enhance
particular sets of personal qualities and dispositions to act. The book includes
a set of outlines for the main issues to be addressed through public policies.
For example, the need for improvement in the footing of vulnerable populations
is very well sketched through the summing of the results showing that there are
populations that face insurmountable obstructions after the leave from the
public system. In conjunction with the notice that the economic mobility it is
not so high to help the overcoming of related problems, we have a good to
believe that a government support for redistributive politics is necessary.
This refers to the US government, like the other findings regarding public
policies improvements, but most of them can be applied to Western Europe's
governments as well.
Maybe the main "black
point" for the reader who wants to be struck by a chart that pictures the
whole of the problem can be seen in the lack of an overall synoptically track
of the evolution from the short transition from adolescence to adulthood (as it
was early in the twentieth century) to the span not covered neither by
adolescence, nor by adulthood. But there are two good reasons for this lack.
First, the complexity and amounts of data are hindering such an endeavor.
Second, the picture of the phenomenon is in front of everyone. It is impossible
to think that there is one person who does not see an example illustrating the
behavior described in the book among his friends or colleagues. Surveys'
results are meant to reveal the trends and dimensions of the phenomenon, not
only its existence, which, at least in some of its aspects, is older than the
period taken in consideration.
The book keeps
track of these changes for every important category: childbearing and marriage
(separate and in joint sequence), time use (in education, housework, leisure,
travel, etc.), generation gaps in attitudes, behavior and values (from the 70s
to the 90s). Then follows the changing in conceptions. When do adolescents
become adults? How people make the transition to adulthood? How the different
pathways affect adult outcomes? How many paths we have? How hard it is for each
category to get ahead? Does ethnic and racial diversity counts? How important
is the material assistance from families? These are just few of the question
raised and addressed throughout the book. Simplifying, we can say that the book
- Introducing the problem;
- Stating and comparing the differences, along the most important
- Raising questions about which are the important factors and how
these affect the target;
- Analyzing the policies and practices with regard to the
problem, and stating the trends.
Finally, for the
book is a result of a big sociological endeavor, I have to mention that the
reader will find here not only charts and tables of processed information, but also technical information on
surveys, the forms and the methods used, and generally a large amount of
technical materials. Of course, this is a precondition for demonstrating the
scientific accuracy, but these technical data speak also about the wideness of
these studies and the relevance of the findings.
Yet, the authors
mention that there are reasons to believe that an exhaustive study of the
problem it is not possible. There are challenges and impediments hard to
overcome: a highly accurate study is very expensive, some of the paths to
special populations are closed, gathering a right research team (which has to
be a multidisciplinary one) requires important efforts, etc. But, with large
amounts of data and bundles of perspectives, this book represents a very good
starting point for the economical, political and generally cultural studies on
the western (post-) industrialized countries' citizens. Probably the next step
to be made regarding this subject is that of studying the changes in
mentalities and moralities, as well as the new challenges raised by the
collided interests of lifelong education and social vulnerability of those
squeezed by material duties. But there is, also, a rich set of exits towards
the field of social problems, not to be neglected by any of those who are
Ó 2006 Viorel Zaicu
Ph.D., Bucharest, Romania