December 9, 2007

College-age students aren’t considered adults?

Posted in Misc at 7:53 AM by Joe From Boston

Both college-age students and their parents don’t seem to think so, at least according to a recent survey.  It’s an interesting follow-up to my earlier post on parental-over-involvement.

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, a Brigham Young University came to this startling conclusion.  This trend particularly disturbs me, as young people aren’t able or aren’t willing to stand on their own despite being in their 20s!
Here’s an excerpt from the article.  A paid subscription may be required to view the entire article:

“What does it take for a college student to be considered an adult? A successful career, a nice pad, and financial independence? Many 18-to-25-year-old students list those attributes as markers of adulthood.

But a majority of those students’ parents and even a majority of students in that age group believe they haven’t reached adulthood during their college years, according to a new study by Brigham Young University researchers.

A report on the study, “If You Want Me to Treat You Like an Adult, Start Acting Like One!,” appears in this month’s issue of the Journal of Family Psychology.

The study asked the parents of 392 college students from four campuses – a public university on the West Coast, another in the Midwest, a liberal-arts college, and a private religious university in the mid-Atlantic region – if their children had reached adulthood.

Only 16 percent of the mothers and 19 percent of the fathers in the study agreed that their college-age students were adults. The students in the survey responded in a similar manner, with 16 percent saying they were adults.

Larry Nelson, an associate professor at Brigham Young’s’s School of Family Life and the report’s lead author, says young, traditional-age college students are beyond adolescence but not quite adults, at a stage he calls emerging adulthood.

In some respects, the definition of what makes an adult differed between the generations in the study.  Students cited financial independence, a steady career, and moving out of their parents’ homes as symbols of adulthood. Their parents, meanwhile, stressed the importance of responsible behavior when it came to drinking, driving, drugs, and sex.

Student and parents, however, found common ground on one attribute of what makes an adult: selfreliance.