Note. For each item, participants were asked to "Indicate whether you think each of the following must be achieved before a person can be considered an adult," and they responded by indicating yes or no.

sociology, and anthropology, as well as from pilot studies. More detailed explanation of the basis for including particular items will be included in the context of the results.

Participants also took part in a structured interview. Two two-part questions from that interview concerned their conceptions of adulthood. One question applied to themselves: "Do you feel like you have reached adulthood? In what ways do you feel you have or have not?" This question was asked in order to explore the criteria they applied to their own transition to adulthood, for comparison with their general conception of the transition to adulthood as indicated on the questionnaire. The second question was specific to gender: "What would you say makes a person a woman, as opposed to a girl? What would you say makes a person a man, as opposed to a boy?" This question was asked because (as previously described) historical and anthropological evidence indicates that the requirements for adult status have often been gender-specific in other times and places, and in light of this it seemed appropriate to explore the possibility of gender-linked criteria. Female participants were asked the woman/girl part of the question first, and then the man/boy part; for male participants, the order was reversed.

Responses to the interview questions were coded by the author using a categorical system based on the questionnaire (see Table 19.2). A second person also coded 10% of the interviews (randomly selected), and the rate of agreement between the coders was 89%. Both the questionnaire and the interview results confirmed the findings of other studies indicating that the conception of the transition to adulthood held by young people in the American majority culture especially emphasizes three specific criteria: accepting responsibility for one's self, making independent decisions, and financial independence. These findings were unrelated to socioeconomic status; neither participants' education nor their fathers' education were notably related to their responses on the questionnaire.2

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