Connecting experiences: Young people's family life as a unifying entity

Seaman, Peter J. (2002) Connecting experiences: Young people's family life as a unifying entity. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Most previous research investigating the role of family in youth to adult transitions has been conducted via quantitative studies. Although their results tend to suggest the best "outcomes" are within those from intact households, and from families characterised by authoritative and supportive parenting, the area is beset with complications and inconsistencies. More general research on young people (or "adolescence" in the developmental literature) portrays it as a period characterised by growing autonomy, and so focuses on spheres of influence outside the home and family, such as the school and peer group, where young people's independence is enacted. Against a background of recent changes in the shape and trends of family formation and the nature of youth to adult transitions, this qualitative study investigates the ways in which experiences of families equip young people to navigate the transition to adulthood and its attendant risks to health, well-being and status. In doing so it links internal family processes with the external facts of continued inequality in outcome for young people in terms of health, risk-taking behaviour, educational attainment and labour market position. Twenty-two families (both dual and single resident parent) with young people (aged 13- 17) were recruited and interviewed by the author. All families resided in the west of Scotland in or near Glasgow. Young family members and their parent(s) were interviewed together and apart (a total of sixty-six interviews) about their experience, enactment and understanding of family life and its role in the transition to adulthood. Results suggested that a focus on the practices of family life (such as the organisation of mealtimes and discipline) and the beliefs implicit within them, illustrates both how families are understood in the abstract, and further, how family activities are developed within the wider social context. Parenting (rather than household) not only emerged as key to contemporary understandings of families, but the strategies and beliefs which form the basis of parenting were revealed as one way through which the internal processes of families can be linked to the world beyond the home. The study therefore offers a contribution to explanations for the reproduction of life chances, interpreting parenting strategies as attempts to create value consistency between the internal, privatised sphere of a family and home and the external, public sphere of young people's independence.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Individual and family studies.
Colleges/Schools: College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences
Supervisor's Name: Sweeting, Dr. Helen
Date of Award: 2002
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2002-71407
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 10 May 2019 10:49
Last Modified: 25 May 2021 10:36

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