Precocious Maturity and the Process of Occupational Attainment

Jeremy Staff, University of Minnesota

Based on Blau and Duncan's (1967) model of occupational attainment, I explore attainment trajectoris in young adulthood for youth that exhibit a "precocious maturity" in regards to more adult-like economic and familial roles during adolescence. A precocious transition to adulthood may constrain the process of occupational attainment, limiting important institutional sources that promote of achievement, as well as encouraging behaviors that may interfere with achievement. Using data from the Youth Development Study, adolescents that displayed a precocious maturity have a higher probability of full-time work, parenthood, school dropout, and substance use during adoelscence, and acquire fewer months of higher education in the years immediately following high school than their less precocious peers. These same adolescents exhibit lower rates of growth in months of full time work, and a less steep decline in months of higher education from ages 18-27. At ages 26-27, precocious youth are less likely to hold a bachelors' degree, and report lower wage rates than their non-precocious peers. These findings suggest that a precocious maturity compromises educational and occupational attainment trajectoris in young adulthood.

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Updated 05/20/2006