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Geographical distance between young adults and their parents: Predictors and consequences for adult children's mental health and deviant outcomes

Faculty Associates David Maimon and Terence Thornberry, Criminology and Criminal Justice, plan to geocode and analyze Rochester Youth Development Study data to expand understanding of parental proximity effects.

Research on residential proximity of young adults to their parents tends to emphasize the beneficial effect of short geographical distances on parents’ well being. Unfortunately, only scant literature discusses the consequences of geographic proximity to parents for young adults’ psychological and behavioral outcomes. Moreover, while prior research uses elder based samples to assess the relationships between geographical distance and family members’ health outcomes, no prior research discusses these relationships in the context of high-risk populations. In effort to address these two issues, the proposed study seeks to (1) unravel families’ demographic and social attributes that determine high-risk youth’s residential proximity to parents during young adulthood, and (2) examine the simultaneous and interactive effects of spatial proximity to parents and early family environments on young adults’ mental health outcomes (i.e. depression), substance abuse and criminal involvement. To meet these research goals, we propose geocoding and analyzing data available in the Rochester Youth Development Study (RYDS), a longitudinal community study initiated at 1988 and followed adolescents’ development from age 14 to 31 (with 14 assessments).