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In Canada, the large majority of emerging adults (EAs) live with their parents. Researchers have argued that parents play an important role for promoting healthy functioning within EA and into adulthood.

While the popular press instils fear in parents, warning them against ‘helicopter parenting,’ the ‘failure to launch,’ and ‘Adultolescents’, there is little guidance from researchers on how parents might hinder or support their EA child’s development during this critical time.  

Using a measurement burst design we will collect 30 days of data from EA's in each year of the 4-year study. This approach provides a unique and unprecedented opportunity to understand the structure and function of interactions between EAs and their parents; how they change over the course of EA; and how they impact – and are impacted by – risk and wellness behaviours, well-being and key transitions into adulthood.

Findings from this study will extend theoretical knowledge by grounding our understanding of the parent-EA relationship in critical theories of development, relational functioning, and well-being. The research will provide the basis for evidence-based prevention (i.e., identifying distal factors that contribute to challenges in EA), and intervention (i.e., identifying parent-emerging adult interaction patterns that are specific antecedents of risk behaviours and well-being).

This research is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

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