Skip to main content
×
×
Home

Resources and resilience in the transition to adulthood: Continuity and change

  • ANN S. MASTEN (a1), KEITH B. BURT (a1), GLENN I. ROISMAN (a2), JELENA OBRADOVIĆ (a1), JEFFREY D. LONG (a1) and AUKE TELLEGEN (a1)...
Abstract

Patterns of continuity and change in competence and resilience over the transition to adulthood were examined in relation to adversity and psychosocial resources, with a focus on adaptive resources that may be particularly important for this transition. Variable-focused and person-focused analyses drew on data from the Project Competence longitudinal study of a school cohort followed over 20 years from childhood through emerging adulthood (EA) into the young adulthood (YA) years with excellent retention (90%). Success in age-salient and emerging developmental tasks from EA to YA was examined in a sample of 173 of the original participants with complete data on adversity, competence, and key resources. Regressions and extreme-group analyses indicated striking continuity in competence and resilience, yet also predictable change. Success in developmental tasks in EA and YA was related to core resources originating in childhood (IQ, parenting quality, socioeconomic status) and also to a set of EA adaptive resources that included planfulness/future motivation, autonomy, adult support, and coping skills. EA adaptive resources had unique predictive significance for successful transitions to adulthood, both overall and for the small group of individuals whose pattern of adaptation changed dramatically from maladaptive to resilient over the transition. Results are discussed in relation to the possibility that the transition to adulthood is a window of opportunity for changing the life course.This article is based on data collected as part of the Project Competence longitudinal study, which was initiated under the leadership of Norman Garmezy, and was supported through grants to Ann Masten, Auke Tellegen, and Norman Garmezy from the William T. Grant Foundation, the National Science Foundation (SBR-9729111), the National Institute of Mental Health (MH33222), and the University of Minnesota. Preliminary results of this study were presented at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research on Adolescence in Baltimore (March 2004). The authors gratefully acknowledge the contributions to this study by the participants, who shared their lives over time to benefit others, and by the many research team members, students, and faculty, who added ideas and data to this endeavor over the years. The authors particularly want to acknowledge the role of Doug Coatsworth in designing the emerging adulthood assessments pertinent to this article and the current members of the Project Competence research team who improved this article through their thoughtful critiques and comments as the analyses and writing progressed.

Copyright
Corresponding author
Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Ann Masten, Institute of Child Development, 51 East River Road, Minneapolis, MN 55455; E-mail: amasten@umn.edu.
References
Hide All

REFERENCES

American Psychiatric Association. (1987). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (3rd ed.). Washington, DC: Author.
Arnett, J. J. (2000). Emerging adulthood: A theory of development from the late teens through the twenties. American Psychologist 55, 469480.
Arnett, J. J., & Tanner, J. (in press). Growing into adulthood: The lives and contexts of emerging adults. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association Press.
Bachman, J. G., O'Malley, P. M., Schulenberg, J. E., Johnston, L. D., Bryant, A. L., & Merline, A. C. (2002). The decline of substance use in young adulthood: Changes in social activities, roles, and beliefs. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Brim, O. G., Ryff, C. D., & Kessler, R. C. (2004). How healthy are we? A national study of well-being at midlife. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Cicchetti, D., & Garmezy, N. (Eds.). (1993). Special Issue: Milestones in the development of resilience. Development and Psychopathology 5.
Clausen, J. S. (1991). Adolescent competence and the shaping of the life course. American Journal of Sociology 96, 805842.
Clausen, J. S. (1993). American lives: Looking back at the children of the Great Depression. New York: Free Press.
Curtis, W. J., & Cicchetti, D. (2003). Moving research on resilience into the 21st century: Theoretical and methodological considerations in examining the biological contributors to resilience. Development and Psychopathology 15, 773810.
Dahl, R. E., & Spear, L. P. (Eds.). (2004). Adolescent brain development: Vulnerabilities and opportunities. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1021.
Egeland, B., Carlson, E., & Sroufe, L. A. (1993). Resilience as process. Development and Psychopathology 5, 517528.
Elder, G. H. (2002). Historical times and lives: A journey through time and space. In E. Phelps, F. F. Furstenberg, & A. Colby (Eds.), Looking at lives: American longitudinal studies of the twentieth century (pp. 194218). New York: Russell Sage Foundation.
Elder, G. H., Jr. (1974). Children of the Great Depression. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Elder, G. H., Jr. (1986). Military times and turning points in men's lives. Developmental Psychology 22, 233245.
Elder, G. H., Jr., Liker, J. K., & Cross, C. E. (1984). Parent–child behavior in the Great Depression: Life course and intergenerational influences. In P. B. Baltes, & O. G. Brim, Jr. (Eds.), Life-span development and behavior (pp. 109158). New York: Academic Press.
Ford, D. H., & Lerner, R. M. (1992). Developmental systems theory: An integrative approach. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
Furstenberg, F. F. (2002). How it takes thirty years to do a study. In E. Phelps, F. F. Furstenberg, & A. Colby (Eds.), Looking at lives: American longitudinal studies of the twentieth century (pp. 3757). New York: Russell Sage Foundation.
Furstenberg, F. F., Brooks–Gunn, J., & Morgan, S. P. (1987). Adolescent mothers in later life. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Garmezy, N., & Masten, A. S. (1994). Chronic adversities. In M. Rutter, L. Herzov, & E. Taylor (Eds.), Child and adolescent psychiatry (pp. 191208). Oxford: Blackwell Scientific Publications.
Garmezy, N., Masten, A. S., & Tellegen, A. (1984). The study of stress and competence in children: A building block for developmental psychopathology. Child Development 55, 97111.
Gest, S. D., Reed, M.-G. J., & Masten, A. S. (1999). Measuring developmental changes in exposure to adversity: A life chart and rating scale approach. Development and Psychopathology 11, 171192.
Glueck, S., & Glueck, E. (1950). Unraveling juvenile delinquency. New York: Commonwealth Fund.
Harter, S. (1986). Manual: Self-perception profile for adolescents. Unpublished manuscript, University of Denver.
Laub, J. H., & Sampson, R. J. (2002). Sheldon and Eleanor Glueck's Unraveling Juvenile Delinquency Study: The lives of 1,000 Boston men in the twentieth century. In E. Phelps, F. F. Furstenberg, & A. Colby (Eds.), Looking at lives: American longitudinal studies of the twentieth century (pp. 87115). New York: Russell Sage Foundation.
Long, J. V. F., & Vaillant, G. E. (1984). Natural history of male psychological health, XI: Escape from the underclass. American Journal of Psychiatry 141, 341346.
Luthar, S. (Ed.). (2003). Resilience and vulnerability: Adaptation in the context of childhood adversities. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Luthar, S. S., Burack, J. A., Cicchetti, D., & Weisz, J. R. (Eds.). (1997). Developmental psychopathology: Perspectives on adjustment, risk, and disorder. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Luthar, S. S., & Cicchetti, D. (2000). The construct of resilience: Implications for interventions and social policies. Development and Psychopathology 12, 857885.
Luthar, S. S., Cicchetti, D., & Becker, B. (2000). The construct of resilience: A critical evaluation and guidelines for future work. Child Development 71, 543562.
Masten, A. S. (2001). Ordinary magic: Resilience processes in development. American Psychologist 56, 227238.
Masten, A. S., & Coatsworth, J. D. (1998). The development of competence in favorable and unfavorable environments: Lessons from successful children. American Psychologist 53, 205220.
Masten, A. S., Coatsworth, J. D., Neemann, J., Gest, S. D., Tellegen, A., & Garmezy, N. (1995). The structure and coherence of competence from childhood through adolescence. Child Development 66, 16351659.
Masten, A. S., Garmezy, N., Tellegen, A., Pellegrini, D. S., Larkin, K., & Larsen, A. (1988). Competence and stress in school children: The moderating effects of individual and family qualities. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 29, 745764.
Masten, A. S., Hubbard, J. J., Gest, S. D., Tellegen, A., Garmezy, N., & Ramirez, M. (1999). Competence in the context of adversity: Pathways to resilience and maladaptation from childhood to late adolescence. Development and Psychopathology 11, 143169.
Masten, A. S., Neemann, J., & Andenas, S. (1994). Life events and adjustments in adolescents: The significance of event independence, desirability, and chronicity. Journal of Research on Adolescence 4, 7197.
Masten, A. S., Obradović, J., & Burt, K. B. (in press). Resilience in Emerging Adulthood. In J. J. Arnett & J. Tanner (Ed.), Growing into adulthood: The lives and contexts of emerging adults. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association Press.
Masten, A. S., & Powell, J. L. (2003). A resilience framework for research, policy, and practice. In S. S. Luthar (Ed.), Resilience and vulnerability: Adaptation in the context of childhood adversities (pp. 125). New York: Cambridge University Press.
Moffitt, T. E., Caspi, A., Harrington, H., & Milne, B. J. (2002). Males on the life-course-persistent and adolescence-limited antisocial pathways: Follow-up at age 26 years. Development and Psychopathology 14, 179207.
Neemann, J., & Harter, S. (1986). Manual for the self-perception profile for college students. Unpublished manuscript, University of Denver.
Phelps, E., Furstenberg, F. F., & Colby, A. (2002). Looking at lives: American longitudinal studies of the twentieth century. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.
Quinton, D., Pickles, A., Maughan, B., & Rutter, M. (1993). Partners, peers, and pathways: Assortative pairing and continuities in conduct disorder. Development and Psychopathology 5, 763783.
Robins, L. N. (1966). Deviant children grown up: A sociological and psychiatric study of sociopathic personality. Baltimore, MD: Williams & Wilkins.
Roisman, G. I., Masten, A. S., Coatsworth, J. D., & Tellegen, A. (2004). Salient and emerging developmental tasks in the transition to adulthood. Child Development 75, 123133.
Rutter, M. (1990). Psychosocial resilience and protective mechanisms. In J. Rolf, A. S. Masten, D. Cicchetti, K. H. Nuechterlein, & S. Weintraub (Eds.), Risk and protective factors in the development of psychopathology (pp. 181214). New York: Cambridge University Press.
Rutter, M. (1996). Transitions and turning points in developmental psychopathology: As applied to the age span between childhood and mid-adulthood. International Journal of Behavioral Development 19, 603626.
Rutter, M. (2000). Resilience reconsidered: Conceptual considerations, empirical findings, and policy implications. In J. P. Shonkoff & S. J. Meisels (Eds.), Handbook of early intervention (2nd ed., pp. 651681). New York: Cambridge University Press.
Rutter, M., & Quinton, D. (1984). Long-term follow-up of women institutionalized in childhood: Factors promoting good functioning in adult life. British Journal of Developmental Psychology 2, 191204.
Sameroff, A. J. (2000). Developmental systems and psychopathology. Development and Psychopathology 12, 297312.
Sampson, R. J., & Laub, J. H. (1993). Crime in the making: Pathways and turning points through life. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Sampson, R. J., & Laub, J. H. (1996). Socioeconomic achievement in the life course of disadvantaged men: Military service as a turning point. American Sociological Review 61, 347367.
Schulenberg, J. E., O'Malley, P. M., Bachman, J. G., & Johnston, L. D. (in press). Early adult transitions and their relation to well-being and substance use. In F. Furstenberg, R. Rumbaut, & R. Settersten (Eds.), On the frontier of adulthood. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Steinberg, L., Dahl, R., Keating, D., Kupfer, D. J., & Masten, A. S. (in press). The study of developmental psychopathology in adolescence: Integrating affective neuroscience with the study of context. In D. Cicchetti & D. Cohen (Eds.), Handbook of developmental psychopathology (2nd ed.). New York: Wiley.
Thelen, E., & Smith, L. B. (1998). Dynamic systems theories. In W. Damon (Series Ed.) & R. M. Lerner (Vol. Ed.), Handbook of child psychology: Vol. 1. Theoretical models of human development (pp. 563634). New York: Wiley.
Thornberry, T. P., & Krohn, M. D. (Eds.). (2003). Taking stock of delinquency: An overview of findings from contemporary longitudinal studies. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Press.
Vaillant, G. E. (2002). The study of adult development. In E. Phelps, F. F. Furstenberg, & A. Colby (Eds.), Looking at lives: American longitudinal studies of the twentieth century (pp. 116132). New York: Russell Sage Foundation.
Werner, E. E., & Smith, R. S. (1982). Vulnerable but invincible: A study of resilient children. New York: McGraw–Hill.
Werner, E. E., & Smith, R. S. (1992). Overcoming the odds: High risk children from birth to adulthood. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
Werner, E. E., & Smith, R. S. (2001). Journeys from childhood to midlife: Risk, resilence and recovery. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
Wright, M. O'D., & Masten, A. S. (2004). Resilience processes in development: Fostering positive adaptation in the context of adversity. In S. Goldstein & R. Brooks (Eds.), Handbook of resilience in children (pp. 1737). New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Press.
Yates, T. M., & Masten, A. S. (2004). Fostering the future: Resilience theory and the practice of positive psychology. In P. A. Linley & S. Joseph (Eds.), Positive psychology in practice (pp. 521539). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Development and Psychopathology
  • ISSN: 0954-5794
  • EISSN: 1469-2198
  • URL: /core/journals/development-and-psychopathology
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed