Growing up before their time: The early adultification experiences of homeless young people

Schmitz, R. M.,
Tyler, K. A.
Year Published: 2016
Journal Article
Journal Name: 
Children and Youth Services Review
Volume: 64


These authors explored the experiences of early adultification among 40 homeless youth aged 19 to 21 through semi-structured, face-to-face interviews. Using both initial and focused coding, the final qualitative themes emerged naturally from the data. Early adultification encompassed the processes of premature caregiving, early independence, and parenthood, which were closely tied to prominent descriptions of family conflict and caregiver neglect. Premature caregiving burdened participants with excessive household responsibilities such as caring for younger siblings prior to leaving home. Early independence occurred when young people provided for their own needs in the absence of caregiver guidance while still living with family. Parenthood thrust young people into the adult role of caring for an infant once they left home. The authors say that early adultification could therefore complicate homeless young people's lives by exposing them to normative adult roles before they may be emotionally and materially prepared. Modified Author Abstract.

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