All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Lonnie Hannon

Advisory Committee Members

Kevin Fontaine

Laurel Hitchcock

Gregory Pavela

Carrie Howell

Document Type

Thesis

Date of Award

2023

Degree Name by School

Master of Arts (MA) College of Arts and Sciences

Abstract

Young adults transitioning to adulthood from economically disadvantaged backgrounds may experience physical, cognitive, and socio-emotional challenges. Resources and opportunities available during this transition can significantly impact their ability to integrate into society. The impact of economic disadvantage on the well-being of youth transitioning to adulthood remains understudied. The purpose of this study was to understand how economic disadvantage influenced the well-being of youth transitioning into adulthood. This project used longitudinal data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) and its supplements: the Child Development Supplement (CDS) and the Transition into Adulthood Supplement (TAS). Hypothesis one results revealed that young adults from economically disadvantaged households tended to have lower social well-being and emotional well-being than young adults from economically advantaged households. However, Black respondents from economically disadvantaged households had higher psychological well-being on average, regardless of age. Hypothesis two results indicated that greater emotional and social well-being levels increased the likelihood of economic advantage by 17% and 7%, respectively. Conversely, higher levels of psychological well-being tended to decrease the odds of economic advantage. Hypothesis three results revealed religious and spiritual importance positively impacted well-being. On the other hand, social media interaction and volunteer involvement were found to have a negative impact on well-being. As young adults reach the age of 25, their well-being tends to improve in all well-being domains. The current study adds to the literature on further understanding the complex relationship between well-being and economic disadvantage of emerging adults. The findings demonstrate the importance of strong social networks, emotional resilience, and community engagement in increasing well-being. The implications and limitations of these findings are discussed, along with suggestions for future research.

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