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Panel on Transitions to Adulthood in Developed Countries (2003-2006)

Anne Gauthier (Canada)

Francesco C. Billari (Italy)
Elizabeth Fussell (USA)

Council Liaison
Peter McDonald

IUSSP Secretariat contact person
Paul Monet

Terms of Reference

Our aim is three-fold: (1) to describe transitions to adulthood both historically and cross-nationally; (2) to explain patterns in these transitions and their underlying sources of variability; and (3) to understand the consequences of these patterns for individuals, families, and societies.

Our Group approaches the notion of transitions to adulthood as the acquisition of various adult roles, including the transition from school to work, and transitions to financial independence, residential independence, partnership (through cohabitation or marriage) and parenthood. We are also interested in the “subjective” markers that young people themselves — and others around them — use to determine when and under what circumstances they are “adults.”

The activities of the Group will build a comprehensive view of this life period by describing and explaining these experiences as a bundle (that is, how the timing and sequencing of these experiences are interconnected), and how these patterns have changed over time. We pay special attention to the ways in which larger social forces shape individual and group-level transition experiences, highlighting the interplay of macro- and micro-level factors. We are especially interested in those country-level characteristics that create opportunities and constrain trajectories into and through the young adult years. In conducting cross-national research, we are as interested in understanding how the patterns, determinants, and consequences vary within countries as much as we are in understanding how they differ between countries.


Programme of activities

Workshop. Becoming an Adult: an International Perspective on the Transitions to Adulthood, Montreal, 15-17 June 2006.


Workshop on the transition to adulthood in industrialized countries
Calgary (Canada), 7-9 August, 2003

Presentation (Powerpoint)

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