Elyse Warner PhD Candidate School of Health and Social Development

Elyse Warner
PhD Candidate
School of Health and Social Development
Deakin University
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Literature review
Research design
Preliminary findings
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• Many young adults return to live with their parents after
moving out – the ‘boomerang generation’(Flatau et al 2007)
• ‘Boomerang kids’ commonly defined as those who have lived outside the
parental home for at least four months and then returned home for at least four
months (Mitchell 2006a, 2006b, 2007; Mitchell &Gee 1996)
• Returning home needs to be considered separately from
delayed home leaving
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• Research into ‘boomerang generation’ mostly analysis of
survey data to predict factors leading to a return home (Sassler,
Ciambrone & Benway 2008)
(DaVanzo & Goldscheider 1990; Kilmartin 2000; Mitchell, Wister & Gee 2000; Young 1987)
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• Most parents sharing with children as a consequence of a
return highly satisfied with this living arrangement (Mitchell 1998)
• Parents more likely to be satisfied if co-residing child:
(Mitchell 1998)
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• Young adults are calling upon their families to provide
support (Gitelson & McDermott 2006; Liem, Cavell & Lustig 2010; Settersten & Ray 2010)
• Few studies of returners’ experiences
• Limited exploration of family members’ views
• Need for more contemporary research, especially as
returning is common and seems to reflect societal changes
(Mitchell 2006)
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To qualitatively explore Australian families’ experiences
when a young adult moves back to the parental home to
live, and thus increase knowledge of this phenomenon
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• Qualitative approach
• Allows the situation of returning home to be explored in depth
• Offers insight into participants’ perspectives
• Phenomenology
• Focuses on the lived experience not on possibilities and estimations
• Ethical approval
• Received from Deakin University, Faculty of Health
Human Ethics Advisory Group (HEAG-H 91/11).
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The data collection and analysis process
Face to face
coding and
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• Family members acknowledge return home response
to changes in circumstances
• Families generally accommodate
their children returning
• Returning home reflects close
family relationships
• Families employ strategies to make
arrangement work
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Families’ experiences when young adults return home
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• Findings support the important role the family continues to play
during young adulthood
• Return home just another transition parents and young adults
experience and have to accommodate
• Unlike previous research, these findings offer greater insight
into how families manage the return home of a young adult
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Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2008, Family Characteristics and Transitions, Australia, 2006–07, cat. no. 4442.0, ABS, Canberra.
DaVanzo, J & Goldscheider, F 1990, 'Coming home again: Returns to the parental home of young adults', Population Studies, vol. 44, no. 2, pp. 241-55.
Flatau, P, James, I, Watson, R, Wood, G & Hendershott, PH 2007, 'Leaving the parental home in Australia over the generations: Evidence from the Household, Income
and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey', Journal of Population Research, vol. 24, no. 1, pp. 51-71.
Gitelson, I & McDermott, D 2006, 'Parents and their young adult children: Transitions to adulthood', Child Welfare, vol. 85, no. 5, pp. 853-66.
Goldscheider, F & Goldscheider, C 1998, 'The effects of childhood family structure on leaving and returning home', Journal of Marriage and the Family, vol. 60, no. 3,
pp. 745-56.
Goldscheider, F & Goldscheider C 1999, The Changing Transition to Adulthood: Leaving and Returning Home, Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, California.
Jones, G 1995, Leaving home, Open University Press, Buckingham.
Kilmartin, C 2000, 'Young adult moves: Leaving home, returning home, relationships', Family Matters, no. 55, pp. 36-40.
Liem, JH, Cavell, EC & Lustig, K 2010, 'The Influence of Authoritative Parenting During Adolescence on Depressive Symptoms in Young Adulthood: Examining the
Mediating Roles of Self-Development and Peer Support', Journal of Genetic Psychology, vol. 171, no. 1, pp. 73-92.
Mitchell, B 1998, 'Too close for comfort? Parental assessments of 'boomerang kid' living arrangements', Canadian Journal of Sociology, vol. 23, no. 1, pp. 21-46.
Mitchell, B 2006a, 'The boomerang age from childhood to adulthood: Emergent trends and issues for aging families', Canadian Studies in Population, vol. 33, no. 2,
pp. 155-78.
Mitchell, B 2006b, The boomerang age: Transitions to adulthood in families, Transaction Publishers, New Jersey.
Mitchell, B 2007, 'Home-leavers, boomerang kids and mature co-residers: Highlights from the culture and co-residence project', Threshold, no. 91, pp. 17-8.
Mitchell, B & Gee, E 1996,'Boomerang kids and midlife parental marital satisfaction', Family Relations, vol. 45, no. 4, pp. 442-8.
Sassler, S, Ciambrone, D & Benway, G 2008, 'Are they really mama's boys/daddy's girls? The negotiation of adulthood upon returning to the parental home',
Sociological Forum, vol. 23, no. 4, pp. 670-98.
Settersten, R & Ray, B 2010, 'What's going on with young people today? The long and twisting path to adulthood', The Future of Children, vol. 20, no. 1, pp. 19-41.
Young, CM 1987, Young People Leaving Home in Australia: The Trend Towards Independence, Australian Family Formation Project Monograph No.9, Department of
Demography, Australian National University, Canberra.
1. Vassallo, S, Smart, D & Price-Robertson, R 2009, 'The role that parents play in the lives of their young adult children', Family Matters, no. 82, pp. 8-14.
2. Doherty, E 2011 ‘Children fly back to the nest’, Herald Sun, 28 October.
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