February 28, 2012

Circumstances for young people can lead to ‘prolonged adolescence’

By Marianna Michael–

College is a stepping-stone for many students around the nation. It is the time of life in which they learn how to live as independent beings by moving out of the house. But today, traditional ideas of independence may be changing, more and more students either live at home instead of a dorm, or move back home after receiving their degree.

“USA Today College” published a blog written by Jeremy B. Merrill about how students are experiencing a prolonged adolescence by living at home due to the high cost of tuition. Adolescence, in this context, is referring to an economic adolescence in which young adults are receiving financial support from their parents. Merrill argues that since students are not required to pay rent, they mature slower and, therefore, are not prepared to go out on their own by the age of 22, which lands them back at their parents’ house.

According to some, University of Louisville students are experiencing the same circumstance Merrill describes.

Dr. Kathy Pendleton, director of the counseling center at U of L, said that the counseling center is seeing “Many students [who] are living at home because they can’t afford living alone due to job loss and high tuition costs.”

High tuition costs and a bad economy are not the main cause of more students living at home, but are correlational variables contributing to a large effect.

Many Americans view people who live at home as less mature and unable to have responsibilities.

Freshman nursing major Mallory Shane lives at home and believes that this is not a true statement.

“Some people send their children to college and pay their tuition and others have scholarships, so I feel like I am in the same boat as them.” Shane also believes that she will be better off since she can save any money that she makes while living with her parents.

According to the 2010 US Census, 59 percent of 18-24 year old men live at home as do 50 percent of women. The number of men living at home has risen 6 percent since the 2004 US Census, while the rate of women has increased by 4 percent.

One of the many contributing factors to this increase can be the high unemployment in the US economy, especially among young people. Pendleton also stated that the counseling center is, “… seeing students who are returning home and sharing the expenses due to the economy.”

Psychologists believe that adolescence is a concept that wealthy nations have created. It is viewed as being a time of luxury which only affluent countries can support. Whether this is the case or not, it is a current trend that many young adults are leaning on their parents for financial support for a longer time.

Most psychologists view this as detrimental to future generations, but as Shane said, “I think living at home will end up benefitting me in the future.”

[email protected]
Photo: Eric Voet/The Louisville Cardinal

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *