Young Adult Issues and Trends

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					Young Adult Issues and
              Early Adulthood
 Major changes in role behaviour as youth take
  on responsibilities and participate fully in society
 How individuals cope with challenges of early
  adulthood depends on many factors
 Pearlin- personal factors will determine how a
  person copes with challenges, if a problem is
  anticipated it is often easier to cope with, and
  how a society is organized to provide support
  will also affect one’s ability to cope
    Changes in Canadian Society
 Gender roles- affecting lifestyle decisions
  of males and females
 Immigration- introduction to new culture
  of new Canadians
 Economy- influence decisions regarding
  and access to education and career
     Issues Related to Transition
   Some youth do not make the transition to
    adulthood and independence successfully
    – Some remain at home, financially dependent
      on parents
    – Some become homeless
    – Some commit suicide
   Reflection of inability to cope with
    transition and lack of support available in
    Canadian society to help
              Gender Roles
   Most major changes have happened
    within the past 30 years

What are some major changes for women
 and their roles in Canadian society?
What are some major changes for men and
 their role in Canadian society?
            Recent Changes
 Women now employed, even with children- need
  to be socialized for employment, also "Dreams"
  for women, according to Levinson, may include
  an occupation
 Work and family roles have changed to reflect
  the above
 Recent changes to laws (1977 Human Rights
  Act) forbids discrimination based on gender,
  sexual orientation, religion, age, ethnicity
 Instead of focusing on pay equity, Canada has
  focused on encouraging women to enter male
  dominated fields
    Still Have a Long Way to Go
 Men continue to outnumber women in all
  highly paid occupations
 Women dominate the poorly paid
  occupations, regardless of the
  qualifications required
 Role segregation continues despite
  evidence that there are few differences
  between men and women
        Theoretical Background
   Males and Females grow up with different
    – Some people suggest that differences are innate-
      biologically programmed to think differently
    – Functionalists- males and females are socialized
      differently so that they can perform appropriate
      gender roles in society
    – Symbolic Interactionists- children are influenced
      by the role models viewed in the media more
      than the guidance they receive from their
      parents, teachers- peers also affect gender
      identity of teens
           Cultural Conflict
 Western cultures often base identity on
  individualism emphasizing self reliance
  and independence
 Eastern cultures often base identity on
  duty and obligation to family and society-
  highlighting the needs of the family over
  the needs of self
 Conflict arises as children reach adulthood
  and attempt to balance the two
        Theoretical Background
   Symbolic Interactionists- Pressure from
    parents to excel in school and occupation
    but expected to assume traditional gender
    roles when in the family unit, expectation
    that children respect the wishes of their
    elders limits their ability to communicate
    about their individual goals (Rumola
    Dugsin Study)
    – Feeling self esteem associated with respect,
      acceptance and nurturance within the family
      helps reduce this conflict
   Children of immigrant parents find it easier to
    assimilate to Canadian society than their parents
    because of their exposure to Canadian schooling,
    role models, etc.
   Although the Canadian school system promotes
    values of independence, self reliance, personal
    opinion, individual accomplishment which may assist
    Canadian youth in the transition to adult Canadian
    society, they may not reflect the expectations of
    some families coming from other countries
   An emphasis on duty and obligation is found in
    many cultures within Canada and could become an
    issue for young adults trying to develop an
    independent lifestyle
   Should individualism be a desirable attribute? Why
    or why not?
                  Cost of Education
 Most young adults expect to attend post
  secondary education as part of their plan
  to prepare for a career
 Post secondary education in Canada is
  subsidized… not free
    – Cost includes tuition, books, student fees,
      accommodation (if you attend school away
      from home)
   Cost may be a deterrent to some youth
        Cost of Education Cont'd
   Although 87% of parents expect their
    children to attend post secondary education,
    they are unsure of how it will be paid for
    – Many parents expect that children will work while at
      university/college or during high school to save up
 Students question whether increased earning
  potential when they graduate is worth the
 Larger debt may affect their flexibility to search
  for jobs that suit their interests- with wage gap
  increasing between post secondary graduates
  and high school graduates, the investment is
  worth it
   Family income can affect whether
    students expect to achieve their goals
    – Students from lower income families will
      graduate with much higher debts than those
      from higher income families

   The higher the family income, the higher
    the probability of its children attending
    post secondary… WHY?
           Homeless Youth
 Homelessness- having no fixed place to
  sleep at night
 Includes people staying in motels until
  money runs out, staying with friends,
  staying in shelters, and those people
  sleeping outside or wherever they can find
  shelter from the weather
   The number of homeless people has been
    growing in industrialized nations at an
    exorbitant rate- Toronto Disaster Relief
    Committee calls it a national disaster
   Hard to estimate the number of people who
    are homeless- based on those who frequent
    shelters, soup kitchens, etc.
    – On any given night, approximately 33,000
      Canadians are homeless, of which a staggering
      8,333 to 11,000 are youth between the ages of
      16 – 24 (1999)
    – Rate of homeless youth in Toronto increased
      80% between 1992 and 1998
    – Estimated 4000 – 5000 homeless youth in
      Montreal (1999)
      Causes of Homelessness
Three main causes of homelessness:
1. Disruptive family conditions- could be physical,
  psychological, and/or sexual abuse or neglect or
  – 1992 study in Ottawa-Carleton found that 75% of
    street youth reported being victims of abuse
  – Some youth leave home when neither parent wants
    custody after a divorce
  – Others leave in order to get away from parental
    restrictions that they feel are too harsh
2. Residential Instability- moved from foster care,
  or ran away from home
  – American study estimated that 20% of homeless
    youth were in foster care before moving to the streets
  – Over 50,000 young Canadians run away from home
    each year
      Of those 90% return home within the first 60 days but
       most of the remaining 10% become homeless

3. Leave for Independence- leave home to work
  and become independent but become homeless
  when they experience a financial crisis and
  cannot return home
     Challenges of Homelessness
   Live day to day, unable to create plans for
    reorganizing their lives
   Most rely on begging or illegal means (ie. prostitution
    or drug sales) for acquiring enough money to cover
    basic needs
   Health is compromised because of high risk life-style-
    suffer from malnutrition, infections, and STDs
   An estimated 40% are IV drug users, many work in
    sex trade causing HIV related health issues to be a
   Many suffer from psychological and psychiatric
   Doctors in Montreal estimated a mortality rate among
    street youth of 13 times the rate of other youth and
    high rate of drug use is a coping strategy for dealing
    with the pain in their lives
      Long Term Consequences for
            Homeless Youth
   Disruption in education with little chance for
    them to return to school while living on the
   Those that have jobs work in low paying,
    transient positions
   Most have limited knowledge and skills and
    report low self esteem
   Lack formed identity as a result of disruption
    possibly leading to role confusion
   Many have dreams that do not reflect their
    circumstances including their limited resources
      Misguided Assumptions
 Many people assume that homeless
  individuals have created their situations by
  using money to support drug and alcohol
  habit rather than spending money on
 Some assume that they chose street life
  because they are unable to conform to
  rules and expectations of families and
  other accommodations
       Theoretical Background
 Functionalist perspective- assumes that
  homelessness is a result of failed socialization
 Conflict perspective- suggests that a decline
  in stable employment opportunities for those
  with few skills has reduced the ability for many
  to afford housing, also the increasing cost of
  housing is forcing those with the lowest incomes
  onto the street- suggest that homelessness is an
  indicator of the growing gap between the
  wealthy and the poor
 When individuals end their lives, family
  and friend are often left with feelings of
  confusion, grief, and guilt
 Suicide occurs in all societies but rates
  vary significantly
 Percentages for males are higher than
  those for females in all countries
 Raises ethical and practical questions such
  as- Is it normal? Is it wrong? Can it be
             Canadian Perspective
   Relatively rare cause of death in Canada but has
    increased in the past few decades
   One of the highest rates within leading industrial
   In 2001, it was estimated that approximately 3,500
    Canadians die from suicide each year but difficult to
    determine because many suspicious deaths may be
    reported as accidents rather than suicides
   Estimated 20 to 40 attempts for every successful suicide
   Men are 4 times more likely to commit suicide but lower
    rate of females may be a result of less lethal method of
   Approximately 18 out of 100,000 non native youth
    commit suicide each year, for first nations youth, the rate
    rises to 180 out of 100,000 (2005)
         Contributing Factors
 Individuals reportedly suffer unbearable
  psychological pain and a strong sense of
 Some factors include: mental health issues,
  suicide of family member or close friend,
  breakup, drug/alcohol abuse, separation from a
  parent through death or divorce, physical or
  sexual abuse
 In the case of many First Nations youth, cultural
  destruction, socioeconomic hardship, and lack of
  support for mental and physical health issues
         Theoretical Perspectives
   Emile Durkheim (one of the fathers of sociology)-
    suggested that the fact that suicide rates fluctuate
    between societies and genders would suggest that it has
    a social cause
    – He suggested that suicide increases when expectations are
      not met
    – Factors associated with suicide are common but those that
      suffer the worst hardships are not usually the ones who
      choose it
    – Rather, those who expect more will suffer a greater lack of
      control in a crisis
    – Lower suicide rates for women results from their lowered
      expectations for their role is society (remember this is 1897)
    – The effect of social causes depends on the extent that a
      society encourages realistic goals and opportunity for
      individuals to achieve them
   Erikson- would suggest that suicide might
    result from a lack of identity formation
    since it would include the ability to
    realistically assess one's place in society
    and feel a sense of control
    – Lowered suicide rates among women results
      from their identity formation occurring
      through the development of relationships with
      other which serves to provide support to
      buffer them during crisis
          Where to Go for Help
   Trusted family member, guidance councilor

   Kids Help Phone- 1-800-668-6868

   Covenant House Toronto-
    20 Gerrard St. E.,
    Toronto, ON M5B 2P3
     Phone: (416) 598-4898
    Toll Free: 1-800-435-7308