Between a Rock and a Hard Place -- the Demography of the Transition to Adulthood during the Post-Socialist Transformation

Tamas Domokos, Echo Survey Institute
Laszlo J. Kulcsar, Cornell University

Our study examines the transition patterns of adolescents to adulthood in post-socialist Hungary. During socialism this transition took place by a beaten track and was guided by well known norms. The post-socialist transformation modified this conventional way of starting adulthood, creating a "socializational deficit": adolescents learn the adult behavior from a society, which was socialized by traditional norms, but with the post-socialist transformation this way is often inviable. This paper examines to what extent are the adolescents' intentions coherent with the adulthood-starting model of the socializing actors and the actual practice of these demographic milestone events. We hypothesize that the conventional way to start adulthood is accepted, but the realization of this model is limited. However, this "socializational deficit" does not have the same impact on adolescents. Their behavior reflects different strategies, like an early family start or an extended participation in education, depending on socio-demographic characteristics of their families.

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Presented in Poster Session 3: Families, Parenting, Adolescents, and Children