Specifically, students who said their fathers were in the loop had a lower likelihood of doing drugs or engaging in risky sexual behaviors. When mothers were in the know, students were less likely to drink alcohol.
“For parents, the fact that closeness plays a strong role is a message to not be overbearing,” Walker said. “Having a close relationship promotes the child wanting to open up and share what’s going on rather than the parent having to intrusively solicit the information from the child.”
Similar research by Walker and her colleagues finds that delaying the transition to adulthood involves experimentation of a positive nature, indicating this life stage is not simply a period of risk-taking and delinquency.
“The assumption too often is that delaying adulthood is automatically a negative thing, dominated by exploration with risky drinking, drug use, and sex,” Walker said. “However, these findings suggest that young people are also exploring positive behaviors and participate in society to the same degree as those who have already established their identity.”
The title of the paper is “Looking on the Bright Side: The Role of Identity Status and Gender on Positive Orientations during Emerging Adulthood.” Professor Larry Nelson is also a co-author on this study along with Professor Jason Carroll of BYU’s School of Family Life.
Adapted from materials provided by Brigham Young University.
Photo Credit: iStockphoto/Lise Gagne