Contextual Influences on the Transition to Adulthood

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    • 00:00

      [MUSIC PLAYING][Contextual influences on the Transition to Adulthood]

    • 00:11

      DR. BERNADETTE SANCHEZ: Hi, my name is Dr. Bernadette Sanchez.And I'm a professor of psychologyat DePaul University. [Dr. Bernadette Sanchez,Professor of Psychology] In this case study,I will challenge the notion that emerging adulthood is a periodto delay adulthood and explore a young person's identityand possibilities, which is largelyan idea based on white middle class college populations.

    • 00:32

      DR. BERNADETTE SANCHEZ [continued]: So in my research on urban low-income,Latino adolescence, my research team and Ifound that their cultural and economic context influencetheir decisions and behaviors during the transitionto adulthood.This period was comprised of family obligation attitudes,family responsibilities, and financial challenges thatinfluence their decisions and behaviors.

    • 00:54

      DR. BERNADETTE SANCHEZ [continued]: I'm going to cover the following points.[Presentation Topics]First, I'll define, what is emerging adulthood?Then I'll discuss the idea that social context has an influenceon the transition to adulthood.For urban low-income adolescence,I'll also discuss the role of family obligation attitudesand the transition to adulthood, and the role

    • 01:14

      DR. BERNADETTE SANCHEZ [continued]: of economic context in the transition to adulthood.[What is emerging adulthood?]So what is emerging adulthood?Emerging adulthood has been describedas taking place between the ages of 18 and 25 years,and is characterized by the following.First, there's identity exploration.

    • 01:37

      DR. BERNADETTE SANCHEZ [continued]: Then there's instability, a focus on self,feeling in-between-- in-between adolescence and adulthood,and possibilities.According to Arnett, this is a periodin which young people have the time and absenceof other obligations to focus on directing their livesand on themselves.

    • 01:58

      DR. BERNADETTE SANCHEZ [continued]: However, much of the research on emerging adulthoodhas been done on white middle class college studentpopulations.And this might simply reflect the experiences of peoplewho are more economically advantageousand reflect experiences of this particular cultural group.Low-income immigrant populations or low-income populations

    • 02:22

      DR. BERNADETTE SANCHEZ [continued]: of color might not be able to defer adult rolesand to fully explore opportunities and possibilitiesduring this stage.[The Influence of Social Context]My colleagues and I conducted a studyin which we examine how social context playsa role in the transition to adulthoodin a sample of low-income Latino adolescents.

    • 02:44

      DR. BERNADETTE SANCHEZ [continued]: We specifically examined family obligation attitudesand social class.So what are family obligation attitudes?This is, basically, the extent to which familymembers feel a sense of duty to assist one anotherand to take into account the needs and wishes of the familywhen making decisions.[The Study]We also examine how social class plays a role in the decisions

    • 03:07

      DR. BERNADETTE SANCHEZ [continued]: and behaviors that Latino youth make during the transitionto adulthood.Past research has shown that lower-income families,or lower-income youth, tend to havemore financial responsibilities, which then influenceswhether they can attend school full-time consistently.And it also affects their persistence in college.[The Role of Family Obligation Attitudes]

    • 03:32

      DR. BERNADETTE SANCHEZ [continued]: So we conducted qualitative interviews with 32 Latino youthabout a year after they graduatedfrom an urban public high school.And we found that family obligation attitudesplayed a role in the decisions and behaviorsthat they engaged in during the transition.The family obligation attitudes included the importance

    • 03:53

      DR. BERNADETTE SANCHEZ [continued]: of considering the family's needs, which often outweighedparticipants own needs.It also included spending time with family members.And they talked about being a positive rolemodel to other family members.In particular, participants beliefs about familyswayed some to delay college in order to assist the family,while it swayed others to attend college

    • 04:14

      DR. BERNADETTE SANCHEZ [continued]: because of the long-term benefit for the family.Furthermore, participants family obligation attitudesinfluenced their actual responsibilities.So, for example, we had one young manwho delayed college and moved to another cityto take care of his ailing grandmother.Then we had another young person who

    • 04:34

      DR. BERNADETTE SANCHEZ [continued]: decided to enroll in college, even though her father wasunsupportive of her education.And she decided to pursue educationbecause of the long-term benefit for the family.So that young woman, this is what she said.Here's a good quote that illustrates this.So she says, "Like school, my father doesn'tlike the idea of college.He thinks it's a waste of time. 'Cause

    • 04:55

      DR. BERNADETTE SANCHEZ [continued]: he thinks we spend so many hours thereand you never actually learn anything.And you're there about 500 hours, I mean forever.And then by the time you get to be his age,you finally get your degree.And that's how he sees it.And I don't.So I decided, I think in a way like this,in the long term it will be better for the both of us."So she decided to enroll in college,

    • 05:17

      DR. BERNADETTE SANCHEZ [continued]: despite what her father thought, becauseof the long-term benefit for her family.[The Role of Social Class]We also found that the economic contexthad an influence on the decisions and behaviorsof our participants.Oftentimes, social class, together with the familyobligation attitudes, had an influence on their decisions

    • 05:38

      DR. BERNADETTE SANCHEZ [continued]: and behaviors.So participants had financial and family responsibilitiesin addition to their school and work responsibilities.And the financial responsibilitiesthat they had, including paying for their own education,and/or contributing to the families household bills.[Family Responsibilities]The family responsibilities that theyhad included providing emotional support to their parents,

    • 06:01

      DR. BERNADETTE SANCHEZ [continued]: providing financial contributions,participating in household chores,taking care of an adult or child, child rearing,and also providing rides to others.So, for instance, there was a participant whoworked while attending college.Not only was she paying for her own education,but she also had multiple family responsibilities at home.

    • 06:23

      DR. BERNADETTE SANCHEZ [continued]: So here's an example of a quote from this young woman.She says, "I can't leave my mom by herself.She's a single mother.The only person she got is me.I'm always helping her out.I'm paying my own school.I'm working for myself.She don't have to worry about payments for school,how much I owe, how much I'm going to payfor books or anything, nothing.All she has to worry right now is the kids, which I always

    • 06:46

      DR. BERNADETTE SANCHEZ [continued]: take care of them."So you see here from this quote, the multiple responsibilitiesthat she has.She's helping to take care of the kids at home.She's doing household chores.And she's also paying for her own education.[Conclusion]In summary, I've discussed the roles of family obligationattitudes and social class in the transition

    • 07:08

      DR. BERNADETTE SANCHEZ [continued]: to adulthood in urban, low-income Latino adolescents.The participants did not have timeto explore possibilities or time to focus on the selfbecause it was filled with obligations.This is contrary to the emerging adulthood theory,The youth talked about how family obligation attitudescaused some to delay college or to enroll in college.

    • 07:29

      DR. BERNADETTE SANCHEZ [continued]: And the combination of these attitudeswith the limited financial resourcesinfluenced them to adopt more adult-like responsibilities,work, attend college, and/or remain at homeduring the transition from high school.Both the family obligation attitudesand the limited financial resourcesin these young people's lives influencedsome to only attend school part-time

    • 07:52

      DR. BERNADETTE SANCHEZ [continued]: or to work many hours to help support their family.Here are some reflective questions.[Reflective Questions]First, how can concerns for the familybe balanced with the needs for individual achievement?Second, what resources can be provided to lower-income youthduring the transition to adulthood so that they hadthe opportunity to explore their educational and career

    • 08:14

      DR. BERNADETTE SANCHEZ [continued]: interests?And our final question, how shouldtheories about emerging adulthoodbe adapting to reflect the experiencesof lower-income youth from immigrant families?

Contextual Influences on the Transition to Adulthood

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Abstract

Dr. Bernadette Sanchez discusses emerging adulthood in the context of urban low-income Latino adolescence. She discusses the role of social and economic context and how family obligation attitudes affect emerging adults. Sanchez compares her study to the studies done on white middle class college populations.

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Contextual Influences on the Transition to Adulthood

Dr. Bernadette Sanchez discusses emerging adulthood in the context of urban low-income Latino adolescence. She discusses the role of social and economic context and how family obligation attitudes affect emerging adults. Sanchez compares her study to the studies done on white middle class college populations.

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