Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Slow Road To Independence Is A Problem For The Young And Parents Alike


The trend for young people to continue in education and postpone independence is creating problems for them and parents, according to new research sponsored by the ESRC.

A study led by Professor Gill Jones, at Keele University, found that with the age of independence now effectively 24, there are difficulties both for parents with limited financial resources and other responsibilities, and for young adults who want to be able to make and act on their own decisions. By offering or withholding support, parents can affect young people’s choices.

While for most young people the road to adulthood is getting longer, those from middle class families are still far more likely to go on to higher education and defer their independence. In contrast, many from a working class background still expect jobs and independence earlier.

Professor Jones said: “We found that parents were unclear about their responsibilities, as indeed is family law. Most thought their legal obligation to provide food, clothing and shelter ended at 16 rather than 18.

“Many knew of no legal obligation to support children who are students or low-paid workers, although government policies affecting young people tend to assume that basic maintenance will be subsidised by parents into the mid-twenties - the middle class pattern.”

Interviews were carried out with young people aged between 16 and 25 - including full-time workers, students, unemployed and full-time mothers - and their parents. Whilst parents said their own move to independence had been more abrupt, usually linked to marriage, 90 per cent thought it harder for young people to stand on their own feet now because of financial constraints.

Most young people turn to parents for financial help, with grandparents, partners and in-laws coming into play only where there is no support from home. Though 61 per cent of the young people thought their families had helped a lot, 16 per cent said they received little or no assistance. Only 39 per cent thought their parents could have afforded to help more.

For young people, parental support comes in three categories: basic maintenance, ending when they start full-time work, usually at 18 to 21; one-off, large scale support for specific needs, such as a flat, car or baby equipment; and safety-net help for emergencies, expected to last over a longer period.

Most higher education students, but not all, had allowances or occasional help from parents, who took on extra work or cashed savings. Many university students took on jobs, but this affected their studies and could be counter-productive. Some cut costs by attending local universities and living board-free with their parents.

Living at home was essential but not free for further education students and trainees. Further education students who could not live at home and had no family support dropped out of courses.

Whilst some students dropped out explicitly for financial reasons, others said they could not justify the expense. Fear of debt put many off higher education altogether.

Professor Jones added: “Parents and students have to be able to identify returns on their investment, so there is pressure on young people to succeed both academically and in future careers. Two unemployed graduates thought work experience might have been more useful, as did some parents.”

Becky Gammon | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht New population data provide insight on aging, migration
31.08.2016 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht PRB projects world population rising 33 percent by 2050 to nearly 10 billion
25.08.2016 | Population Reference Bureau

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>