How do intergenerational relationships shape and support pathways to successful adult outcomes for disadvantaged young men? During phase I of this William T. Grant Scholar study, Roy examined data from the NLSY79 Young Adult Study, a nationally representative sample of more than 1,700 young adult men. Phase II matched a low-income sub-sample of young men from the NLSY79 with a sample of 135 low-income young men from 4 of the investigators’ previous studies. Both of these phases identified factors that affect when young men begin to make these transitions and examined the differences in adulthood outcomes. In phase III, Roy interviewed 45 low-income young men to reveal how they define parent-son relationships and how these relationships structure expectations for the young men’s own parenting, employment, and relationship status. Initial findings from NLSY data demonstrate that parents matter to young men’s school and work outcomes. Fathers are particularly important to school commitment in young adulthood, while mothers may act as a “safety net” for young men who are at risk of losing all engagement with mainstream adult activities. Analyses suggested that it is the closeness of the father-son relationship that deters risky behaviors that jeopardize work and school linkages. In cases of young adult men who are fathers themselves, parents invest in their young sons but pull back supportive involvement when they become parents. For fathers who are struggling to find-full time work, closeness to their own fathers was critical, perhaps to persevere through challenging family and work circumstances. Life history data from phase II suggests that fathers of low-income men remain close to their children into late adolescence, even when they did not reside in the home. Initial analyses of phase III qualitative interviews give insight into a period of “ghosting,” or social isolation that some young men choose to ensure protection of their well-being and a developmental phase of identity construction. Roy was granted a one-year, no-cost extension to complete data collection and analyses.
How do intergenerational relationships shape and support pathways to successful adult outcomes for disadvantaged young men?