Sociology ETDs

Publication Date

Summer 7-2021


This hybrid dissertation examines three related topics on the concept of responsibility regarding adulthood and transitioning into this status: a) youth conceptions of responsibility for delayed home-leaving, b) the relationship between family responsibility and transition timing, and c) global conceptions of parental responsibilities to children. First, I find that youth typically see external, structural causes preventing earlier home-leaving over internal, more culturally-motivated causes leading individuals to prefer staying at home longer. Second, I find that total housework and specifically the “female-typical” interior work of cooking, cleaning and caring speeds up parenthood while delaying the achievement transitions of finishing school and starting a career. Third, I find that attitudes about balancing parental sacrifice with self-care have remained a minority, wavering significantly since 1981 or declining. However, younger cohorts are consistently positively associated with support for more balance, though differences between older and younger cohorts are shrinking.

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First Committee Member (Chair)

Reuben Jack Thomas

Second Committee Member

Richard Wood

Third Committee Member

Brian Soller

Fourth Committee Member

Cara Streit


youth, adulthood, transition, responsibility, comparative



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