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Cooksey, Elizabeth C. & Rindfuss, Ronald R. (2001). Patterns of Work and Schooling in Young Adulthood. Sociological Forum, 16(4), 731-755.


If the years of late adolescence and early adulthood are depicted as rocky, disorderly, and experimental, then how should the life course stage that immediately follows be characterized? Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of the High School Class of 1972, we focus on work and school activities in the latter half of the young adult years (ages roughly 25–31) to empirically address whether the diversity of work and schooling patterns diminishes. Finding a lack of orderliness in work and schooling trajectories, and that holding two or more activities simultaneously is quite common, we question how this stage of the life course should be conceptualized. Moving away from the traditional sequential roles approach, we use multinomial logistic regression to differentiate among activity sequences commonly held by young men and women at these ages, and address how family of origin background factors and prior life experiences influence life course experiences in the later 20s and early 30s.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Sociological Forum


Cooksey, Elizabeth C.
Rindfuss, Ronald R.