Transition to Adulthood in Italy: an Intergenerationl Perspective

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In the last few decades the transition to adulthood has been taking longer to complete, especially in the Western world. As Italy is one of the first countries affected by this phenomenon, the results of 30 years of research in that area are now available. The aim of this contribution is to present the Italian situation through an intergenerational approach, to identify the implications of the delayed assumption of adult roles. Both sociological and psychological findings are thus analysed to provide a richly articulated picture of the Italian phenomenon. Several findings identify the main characteristics of the transition in Italy as the joint effect of prolonged co-residence in the parental home and delayed marriage. The central role played by the family of origin highlights the advantage of the intergenerational approach adopted in the study. The family's crucial role could, in fact, be explained by the absence of adequate welfare policies (hence the compensating support of family relationships), as well as the perception of cultural intergenerational obligations. However, only a generative family and a generative society, (i.e., a family and society giving birth to, caring for, and letting go of, the younger generation) could provide a generative context in which young adults could find their own adult roles, within both family (by creating a new family) and society (being recognised as adults who contribute to social development).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-248
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Comparative Family Studies
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Family Relationship
  • Intergenerational perspective
  • Transition to Adulthood


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