Continuity and Discontinuity in Perceptions of Family Relationships From Adolescence to Young Adulthood


  • This research was supported by the Russell Sage Foundation and the John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Kim M. Tsai, UCLA Department of Psychology, 1285 Franz Hall, Box 951563, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1563. Electronic mail may be sent to


The present 8-year longitudinal study examined how multiple aspects of family relationships change across the transition from adolescence (Mage = 15 years) to young adulthood (Mage = 22 years) among 821 individuals. Results showed that there was more discontinuity than continuity in family relationships across this transition. Whereas a normative decline was evident in all measured aspects of family relationships during adolescence, this decline persisted for only a few dimensions of family relationships during young adulthood. Other aspects of family relationships stabilized or rebounded. There was little variation in these trajectories as a function of ethnicity or gender, suggesting that these changes in family relationships are generally normative. Results suggest that the transition to adulthood is a period of significant transformation in family relationships.