Date of Award:

12-2019

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

School of Teacher Education and Leadership

Committee

Brian K. Warnick

Committee

Lucy M. Delgadillo

Committee

Debra M. Spielmaker

Abstract

This study was conducted to explore the adulthood transition experiences of Utah high-school graduates, with heightened focus on the application value of educational content from the course, Adult Roles. The purpose of the study was identified through experiential interactions with high-school graduates, and was supported by research on 21st century adulthood transitions shown to divert away from traditional adulthood markers. The inconsistency between modern adulthood transition behaviors and traditionally held adulthood assumptions lead to negative perceptions about young adult’s capability to adapt to adulthood. The researcher was motivated to investigate opportunities that may provide increased preparation for the transition into adulthood.

Exploring the level of adulthood preparation and the methods of preparation was completed by conducting a survey and follow-up interviews, using questions pertaining to traditional and modern adulthood markers. The study was designed to take place during the spring 2019 semester, gathering experiences from participants in two parts. A 16 question, online survey was completed by 39 Utah State University students, and 287 Utah high-school graduates not enrolled in college to assess the level of preparation and methods of acquiring preparation to transition into adulthood, according to specific responsibilities. Follow-up interviews with seven volunteers from the Utah State University participants, consisted of 11 questions, to explore specific adulthood preparation received from enrollment in the Adult Roles course.

Concluding results found that Utah high-school graduates perceived themselves as “moderate-positively” prepared for the adulthood transition responsibilities aligned with traditional adulthood markers. Preparation levels for 21st century markers show “minimally prepared” perceptions. The study determined enrollment in the life-skills course, Adult Roles, provided a moderate benefit to transitional experiences. Findings show that high-school graduates seeking a college degree have more positive perceptions of preparedness than graduates not seeking a college degree. Concluding findings show the level of preparedness for adult responsibilities, reflect the instructional emphasis on adulthood markers found within the Adult Roles curriculum.

The study suggests that environments influencing adulthood preparation have the potential to support youth adult’s transitional experiences by incorporating preparation related to 21st century adulthood markers.

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