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Amato, Paul R. & Kane, Jennifer Buher (2011). Life-Course Pathways and the Psychosocial Adjustment of Young Adult Women. Journal of Marriage and Family, 73(1), 279-295. PMCID: PMC3505668


We examined seven life-course pathways from adolescence through the early adult years and their links with general health and psychosocial adjustment among 2,290 women from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Young women who followed a pathway involving college attendance to full-time employment with no family-formation transitions were functioning comparatively well with respect to general health, depression, and self-esteem. In contrast, young women who followed pathways involving early motherhood were functioning less well. Fixed-effects models suggested that the differences were due to selection factors. Young women who followed the pathway of college to full-time employment exhibited an increase in heavy drinking, whereas women who became married mothers exhibited a decrease in the same. Involvement in illegal behavior declined for all groups but least so for women who attended college.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Journal of Marriage and Family


Amato, Paul R.
Kane, Jennifer Buher