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Lutz study on adolescent residential mobility & premature life-course transitions published in SSCY

Oct 26, 2005

Adolescent Residential Mobility and Premature Life-Course Transitions: The Role of Peer Networks

Scott J. South, Amy Lutz & Eric P. Baumer

Sociological Studies of Children and Youth, October 2005

Amy Lutz

Amy Lutz


Adolescence has traditionally been considered a time of substantial turmoil in the life course, as youth struggle with establishing self-images, finding appropriate and supportive peer groups, and begin their psychological, emotional, and, in some cases, physical separation from their parents. Among the many factors that have been thought to exacerbate adolescent adjustment during this often-difficult period are residential mobility and the school changes that frequently accompany these geographic relocations. Numerous recent studies have found statistically significant and substantively important effects of residential mobility and school changes on problematic adolescent behaviors.

Although the observed strength of the association varies across studies and outcomes, recent investigations have reported significant effects of residential mobility and/or school changes on poor academic performance (Ingersoll, Scamman, & Eckerling, 1989; Kerbow, 1996; Pribesh & Downey, 1999), school dropout and low educational attainment (Astone & McLanahan, 1994; Entwisle, Alexander, & Olson, 1997; Hagan, MacMillan, & Wheaton, 1996; Haveman, Wolfe, & Spaulding, 1991; McLanahan & Sandefur, 1994; Rumberger, 1995; Swanson & Schneider, 1999; Teachman, Paasch, & Carver, 1996), drug and alcohol abuse (Hoffman & Johnson, 1998), risky sexual activity, including early sexual initiation and numerous sex partners (Baumer & South, 2001; Stack, 1994), premarital childbearing (South & Baumer, 2000; Sucoff & Upchurch, 1998), and other behavioral problems (Tucker, Marx, & Long, 1998; Wood, Halfon, Scarlata, Newacheck, & Nessim, 1993).

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