PhD in Nursing Science Program

Anna Tielsch Goddard

Adolescent Transition to Adulthood and the Role of Coping and Influencing Factors


Dissertation under the direction of Dr. Sheila Ridner

Economic, educational, and social challenges in the United States have fostered continued reliance on the family for financial and emotional support amongst late adolescents (18-24 years of age): a health care trend known as delayed adolescent transition which encompasses the failure to meet major developmental changes and challenges such as acquisition of competencies, attitudes, values, and social capital. Obesity trending in late adolescence has also become epidemic, affecting approximately 1:4 late adolescents. A cross-sectional, descriptive, correlational approach to delayed transitioning in this population and the role coping and other unique factors trending in the last decade such as internet use, social media use, and video gaming was conducted. Data was collected primarily through online social media recruitment and documented in REDCap data base. Descriptive and correlational data analysis concluded that the delayed transition variable as currently conceptualized in the literature was unable to be quantified as previously defined. Cognitjve appraisal's to stress were strongly correlated with copying styles. Internet use, social media use, and video gaming were associated with dysfunctional coping. A cluster analysis revealed that participants who had completed transition to adulthood in this age period were more likely to be financially independent, not live with their parents, graduated high school, have income to support themselves, have lower perceived stress, higher perceived competence and social support, and use the internet and social media less than their peers. Nurses are in a prime position to better advocate for the late adolescent population through research, education, and health promotion efforts. The nurse clinician should recognize the importance of stress and coping in relation to psychosocial components of life that can impact physical and mental health.