Men's and Women's Pathways to Adulthood and Their Adolescent Precursors


Social Development Research Group, School of Social Work, University of Washington, 9725 3rd Avenue NE, Suite 401, Seattle, WA, 98115 (


This study compared men's and women's pathways to adulthood by examining how role transitions in education, work, marriage, and parenthood intersect and form developmental pathways from ages 18–30. The study investigated how sociodemographic factors and adolescent experiences were associated with these pathways. We used latent class analysis to analyze longitudinal data from a gender-balanced panel of 808 contemporary young adults. We found three similar latent pathways for both genders, but men and women differed in the timing of marriage and when they began to live with children and the likelihood of combining both roles. The present study points to the continued, though differential, relevance of marriage and family in the transition to adulthood for men and women.