Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Arnett, Clark University Release National Survey of Emerging Adults (18-29 Year-Olds)

Jeff Arnett and Clark University have released a national survey of 18-29 year-olds (link to report). The survey of approximately 1,000 respondents, conducted in April 2012, is described in the report as being "generally representative" of Americans at large in the target age range. Only 100 of the participants were interviewed via traditional landline telephone calls, with the rest roughly split between cell-phone and Internet participation. Mode of contact is important because landline use is quickly decreasing, especially among younger people; however, how the researchers arrived at the above proportions of landline, cell, and Internet interviews was not described.

The report provides data on responses to single items (e.g., "This time of my life is fun and exciting"), rather than multiple-item scales. Arnett characterizes participants' life outlooks as reflecting "mixed emotions." Notably, negative/pessimistic statements had the greatest endorsement among the youngest respondents (18-21 years old), with progressively less endorsement among 22-25 and 26-29 year-olds.

Another section of the survey asked questions that have long been a staple of Arnett's research, namely whether individuals considered themselves to have reached adulthood (yes, no, or yes in some ways and no in others) and what criteria they identify for reaching adulthood. Other areas examined include relations with parents, education, employment, and close relationships.

One miscellaneous finding I found interesting was the endorsement by 35% of respondents that, “If I could have my way, I would never become an adult.”