Trajectories Based on Postcomprehensive and Higher Education: Their Correlates and Antecedents

Authors


  • AUTHOR'S NOTE: The Jyväskylä Longitudinal Study of Personality and Social Development has been funded by the Academy of Finland as a part of the project (Nos. 40166 and 44858) “Human Development and Its Risk Factors” (Finnish Centre of Excellence Programme, 1997–2005). Katja Kokko was funded by the Academy of Finland grants (Nos. 55289, 113853, and 118316). Preparation of this article was also supported by The Center for the Analysis of Pathways from Childhood to Adulthood funded by NSF grant (Nr. 0322356) and Jacobs Foundation.

*Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Katja Kokko, Department of Psychology, University of Jyväskylä, PO Box 35, 40014 University of Jyväskylä, Finland [e-mail: katja.kokko@psyka.jyu.fi].

Abstract

The aim of this study was to investigate different trajectories of education, based on annual attendance in postcomprehensive and higher education between ages 15 and 42, and their correlates and antecedents. A special focus was on education that occurred after spending several years in the labor market (i.e., off-time education). Analyses were based on the Finnish Jyväskylä Longitudinal Study of Personality and Social Development in which the same participants have been followed from age 8 to 42. Four trajectories were obtained: no or early, off-time, on-time, and continuing education. Through adulthood, career stability, and occupational status were lower among off-time and no or early education participants than among the others. Women on the off-time education trajectory showed an increased level of optimism and achieved identity from age 27 to 42. Both off-time and no or early education participants came from a low socioeconomic (SES) family and had problems in their social behavior at age 8 and school adjustment at age 14. Different types of, and reasons for attending, adult education should be better understood, and adult education should be individually targeted.

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