WTF Fun Fact 13567 – Many Adults Rely on Parents

Do you still rely on your parents for material support even though you’re technically an adult? Well, you’re certainly not alone!

While society has traditionally regarded financial self-sufficiency as the yardstick for adulthood, the reality for many Americans seems to diverge from this ideal. A study from North Carolina State University dispels some age-old myths. Contrary to prevailing beliefs, a mere one-third of adults can claim to be fully independent from their parents in the financial and residential realms from their late teens through their early 40s.

The Intricacies of Parental Support

Anna Manzoni, associate professor of sociology and a key researcher in the study, emphasized that our current age might need a broader definition of adulthood. This study, which encompassed a vast participant pool of 14,675 adults between ages 18 and 43, revealed a spectrum of intergenerational financial and residential dynamics.

No longer can adulthood be confined to a one-dimensional view of independence. Rather, it appears to manifest in multiple forms:

  • Early achievers who chart their independent course soon and stick to it.
  • Those who mostly tread the independence path but occasionally lean on parents during transitional life moments.
  • Some who take their time to detach from the family home, gradually achieving financial self-sufficiency.
  • Individuals who remain at home into their late twenties, receiving considerable financial help, which then dwindles over time.
  • A segment that remains at home for more extended periods, fostering a two-way street of financial support with their parents.
  • And, the “boomerang” adults, who after a taste of early independence, circle back home before venturing out again.

Demographics and Education Keys to Relying on Parents

The study goes beyond just identifying patterns. It also dives the underlying causes of who tends to rely on parents into adulthood. Racial background, for instance, plays a significant role. White families are often at the forefront of the “Complete Independence” trend, while “Extended Interdependence” sees a higher representation from Hispanic families.

The influence of education, particularly parental education, stands out starkly. There’s a clear correlation between parents’ educational achievements and the pathways their children tread. The study notes that adults from families where parents have a robust educational background lean towards achieving independence more rapidly than their counterparts.

Most Adults Still Rely on Parents

One can infer from the study that personal growth and journeys to independence are significantly influenced by the starting point: the privileges or disadvantages one inherits. Adulthood, then, shouldn’t just be seen in the light of personal choices but must also factor in societal structures and access to resources.

This reframing of independence and adulthood requires us to reconsider the benchmarks of maturity and acknowledge the diverse ways individuals tackle the challenges of modern adulthood. Economic, societal, and educational landscapes play large roles in these dynamics.

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Source: “Most people rely on parents for material support into adulthood” — Science Daily

WTF Fun Fact 13558 – Mental Imagery

Teenagers are often vulnerable to spirals of negative thoughts, but new research suggests a possible solution: mental imagery.

The Study on Mental Imagery for Teens

Oregon State’s Hannah Lawrence, an assistant professor of psychology, spearheaded the study. The results indicated that shifting focus to mental imagery acts is a strong distractor. In fact, it’s more of a distraction than simple verbal thoughts for adolescents trapped in negative ruminations.

Lawrence’s insights shine a light on a significant issue. Drowning in past regrets not only deepens one’s sorrow but also makes emotional regulation a greater challenge.

Introducing brief diversions, especially in the form of mental imagery, offers a momentary break from these cyclic patterns. This could potentially facilitate a bridge to more extensive help through therapy, familial support, or friendships.

Experiment Procedure

Published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, the research aimed to contrast the impact of verbal thoughts and imagery-based thoughts on the general mood of adolescent participants.

The study encompassed 145 participants, aged 13 to 17, predominantly white, with 62% females. These individuals were from a rural New England area. A striking 39% displayed symptoms consistent with clinical depression.

The mood-setting phase involved an online game, inducing feelings of exclusion among the participants. Subsequently, they were divided into groups, engaging in either rumination or distraction exercises using either verbal or imagery-based prompts.

For rumination, a prompt might be “Imagine the kind of person you think you should be.” For distraction, it could be as mundane as “Think about your grocery list.”

Key Findings on the Power of Mental Imagery

The research found that both forms of rumination (verbal and imagery) affected the participants’ moods similarly. However, mental imagery stood out as a more potent form of distraction.

Lawrence noted, “Using mental imagery seems to help us improve our affect, as well as regulate our nervous system.” The form of negative thoughts, be it verbal or visual, may not matter as much as the relentless focus on distressing matters.

The potency of mental imagery is still not entirely understood. It may be the case that imagery demands more effort and is more immersive. Therefore, it elicits stronger emotional responses, thus serving as a better distraction.

There’s also evidence suggesting that visualizing mental images activates the same brain regions as witnessing those events firsthand.

The Evolution of Rumination

Lawrence has observed that while some adults stick to one form of rumination, most teenagers report employing both verbal thoughts and mental imagery. These patterns might solidify over time, becoming habitual and reinforcing the negative imagery or messages.

Lawrence highlights the crucial nature of her work with teenagers, expressing her hope that early interventions can help these youngsters navigate to adulthood without being tethered to detrimental thought patterns.

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Source: “Mental imagery a helpful way to distract teens from negative thought patterns” — Science Daily