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Growing Up Global: The Changing Transitions to Adulthood in Developing Countries
that are prosocial and gender equitable, the teaching of languages of global commerce, the teaching of job-related skills including computer literacy, and the transmission of knowledge supporting healthful behaviors.
What are the near-term and long-term consequences of very early or very late marriage and childbearing for reproductive health, education, work, and citizenship roles in the context of rapid global change? While global standards and norms increasingly see marriage below age 18 as inappropriate, there has been no rigorous research exploring the subsequent consequences for young people, in terms of other role transitions, of marrying while still a child. These consequences are likely to vary by context. Furthermore, age at marriage for men in some parts of the world is rising to unprecedented levels. Are there implications of these trends for reproductive health and overall satisfaction and well-being?
How are the social norms, values, perceptions of opportunity, and goal aspirations changing among young men and women in the context of rapid global change? What consequences do these changes have for behaviors and successful transitions? While most surveys of young people ask questions designed to solicit their views on various topics, there are rarely longitudinal data designed to explore whether these views have changed. These changes may have important implications for all aspects of the transition to adulthood, including the formation of citizenship, one of the adult roles about which the least is known.
Do such experiences as secondary school attendance, work for cash during the middle or later phases of adolescence, participation in sports, livelihood programs, or other group or community activities, particularly for young women, increase young people’s sense of agency, self-esteem, identity, and decision-making skills? Do these types of experiences enhance success in other transitions? Very little is known about agency among children and young people and how it is changing. There is some information that young people have greater choice of marriage partners than in the past, but little else. Economic models of decision-making typically include parents as major players in the lives of young people. Changes in the pace and timing of transitions may require that models be adapted to encompass the transition in decision-making roles that occurs during the transition to adulthood.
In addition to the many cross-cutting questions laid out above, new research areas are emerging as a result of global change that need attention as well:
The role of the media in forming and changing social norms, values, perceptions of opportunity, cultural identity, and goal aspirations.
The relationship between citizenship education and gender role socialization.