Pathways to Adulthood

Educational opportunities, motivation and attainment in times of social change

Paperback / softback, 323 pages, 234 mm x 156 mm
4 Oct 2017

Price: £24.99

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Among the many life transitions that individuals must master throughout their lives, the transition to adulthood ranks very high in terms of importance, complexity and uniqueness. It involves the completion of education, and the assumption of new social roles and responsibilities, at a time when previous institutional structures that guided transitions throughout the school system are falling away. It also involves great uncertainties about the future, especially during periods of rapid social change.

Using robust evidence from large scale, longitudinal and comparative studies, this collection emphasises the role of the context in which human development takes place. It addresses three major themes concerning the transition experiences of young people:

- social inequality and its impact on educational attainment
- the development of motivational processes related to achievement and wellbeing
- coping with uncertainty due to social and economic change.

The book brings together new research by leading experts and young scholars in psychology, sociology, economics, social policy and education. It will be relevant for social scientists from a broad range of disciplines, policymakers and for everyone interested in life course development, motivation theory, educational choice, attainment, and social participation.

  • Ingrid Schoon

    Ingrid Schoon is Professor of Human Development and Social Policy at the UCL Institute of Education and Director of the International Fellowship Programme, “PATHWAYS to Adulthood”.

  • Rainer K. Silbereisen

    Rainer K. Silbereisen is Professor of Developmental Psychology (Emeritus) at the University of Jena and Past-President of the International Union of Psychological Science (IUPsyS).

CONTENTS: INTRODUCTION: Conceptualizing the transition to adulthood in times of social change: A developmental–contextual systems perspective; PART 1 SOCIAL INEQUALITIES IN ASPIRATION AND ATTAINMENT. Introduction; 1.1 The socio-economic gradient in educational attainment and labour market outcomes: A cross-national comparison; 1.2 Social inequality in educational transitions under different types of secondary school curricular differentiation; 1.3 Designing education to enhance the achievement of all; 1.4 Predicting university entry using machine-based models and solutions; PART 2 MOTIVATION IN CONTEXT. Introduction; 2.1 Advances in the research on situation-specific and contextual aspects of student engagement; 2.2 Next steps in studying engagement: The value of examining observable forms of engagement; 2.3 Young people’s motivational profiles and relations to well-being and educational aspirations: A person-oriented approach; 2.4 Educational interventions based on motivational theories: The case of relevance interventions; PART 3 DEALING WITH UNCERTAINTIES OF SOCIAL CHANGE. Introduction; 3.1 How did the economic recession influence first birth behaviour in the United Kingdom?; 3.2 Engagement with and disengagement from demands of social change; 3.3 Social change – uncertainty – religiosity: Psychological perspectives on the role of religiosity in changing societies; 3.4 The development of entrepreneurship: A biopsychosocial lifespan model; 3.5 Social change and youth civic engagement

‘Professors Schoon and Silbereisen have created a singularly creative and historically important synthesis of science and scientists. In Pathways to Adulthood, they have integrated senior and junior generations of developmental scientists to integratively explore theory-predicated relations between transitions to adulthood and sociocultural and institutional changes. Scholars interested in understanding key issues of lifespan development and in enhancing the abilities of future cohorts of scientists to further such research will admire this book and seek to emulate the model of dual innovation it so masterfully presents.’

Richard M. Lerner, Ph.D., Director, Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development, Tufts University

‘This impressive volume is pioneering in its international and multidisciplinary advances of our understanding of the transition to adulthood and attendant opportunities to reduce social inequality. The best part is the Pathways Mentoring Program, a novel and exemplary approach to collaborative postdoctoral training, which will have global impact at the intersection of developmental science, social change and educational practice for the next generations of leaders.’

P. Lindsay Chase-Lansdale, Frances Willard Professor of Human Development and Social Policy, Northwestern University

‘Around the world, the business of becoming an adult seems to be up for grabs: old scripts for life no longer apply. Persistent inequalities provide some youth with ample opportunities and resources, but leave others adrift, without hope, and excluded from productive roles. Many families are struggling to help their youth find their way. Local and national contexts play crucial roles in determining whether young people sink or swim. In Pathways to Adulthood, a stellar international cast of scientists come together to discover how the motivation, resilience and achievements of young people can be fostered in our ever-changing and uncertain world.’

Richard A. Settersten, Jr., Endowed Director, Hallie Ford Center for Healthy Children & Families, Oregon State University

‘This unique collaboration of senior scholars and postdoctoral researchers from Europe and North America presents highly innovative, state-of-the-art research on some of the most critical issues facing educators and social/developmental scientists of our time: educational inequality, student motivation and engagement, and the human consequences of tumultuous social change and uncertainty. Comparative cross-national research findings are drawn upon to inform interventions and change in educational practice and social policy, so as to ameliorate the huge challenges facing recent cohorts of young people as they transition to adulthood.’

Jeylan Mortimer, Professor of Sociology and Director, Youth Development Study, University of Minnesota

‘At a time of considerable flux in society when many youth face uncertain prospects, this book provides a clear and important perspective on emerging adulthood. By focusing on the role of context in development, this book contributes to an understanding of how outside forces shape young people and their career and life prospects, and what can be done to set up young people for success as productive adults. Using the innovative Pathways to Adulthood fellowship program as a case example, the book demonstrates at multiple levels how a developmental contextual understanding provides a foundation for policy and program change to set up emerging adults for successful careers in an uncertain world. The book provides a clear, crisp view of how the science of emerging adulthood has important implications for policy initiatives to help youth contribute in society.’

Abigail Gewirtz, Editor-in-Chief, IUPsyS International Journal of Psychology, and Director, Institute of Translational Research in Children's Mental Health, University of Minnesota