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Fleming, M. (2004). On: Transition to young adulthood: A prospective study. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 85(2):527-528.

(2004). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 85(2):527-528

On: Transition to young adulthood: A prospective study Related Papers

Manuela Fleming

Dear Sirs,

I read Szajnberg and Massie (2003) with great interest. The authors pose two questions at the end of their paper: ‘How do our youth make this transition today? What does society offer to facilitate this transition to adulthood?’ They also write, ‘We hope that this paper will act as a catalyst to address these two important issues’. I would like to meet their hope by offering a short contribution with the use of my research data to address the first question. As a psychoanalyst and university professor, I have investigated during several years the transition to adulthood of high school and university students living in a suburban area of Portugal (Matosinhos). This research of mine was printed in several local articles (Fleming, 1986, 2003; Fleming and Aguiar, 1992) and in a book (Fleming, 1993). Our group has identified the most important markers of leaving home for Portuguese young people by studying 220 individuals aged between 18 and 25 years (103 males and 117 females). Our goal was to characterise the anticipation of home leaving, as it was perceived by these young persons. We have analysed the contents of reports of their perceptions of leaving home for a person of their age. The following aspects were considered: emotions associated with leaving the parents' home; motivation to leave the parents' home; parent-youth relationships; success vs. failure after leaving home. Our data showed that the imagined anticipation of home leaving had a great emotional resonance in the young man and in the young woman, and that it caused opposite feelings of both loss (sadness, guilt, loneliness) and joy (involving enhanced self-esteem).

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