'Joined up' thinking? Unsupported 'fast-track' transitions in the context of parental substance use



Wilson S, Cunningham-Burley S, Bancroft A & Backett-Milburn K (2008) 'Joined up' thinking? Unsupported 'fast-track' transitions in the context of parental substance use. Journal of Youth Studies, 11 (3), pp. 283-299.

The extended dependence of many young adults on their parents, in a socioeconomic climate which disadvantages unsupported young people who leave education early, has been the focus of much research (Jones et al. 2006; Furlong et al. 2003). Some of this work has posited a polarisation in young adulthood between those whose extended transitions to adulthood are supported by their parents, and those negotiating unsupported or ‘fast-track’ transitions (Bynner 2001; Jones 2002) associated with higher levels of risk (Jones et al. 2006). Since 1997, in each of the constituent nations of the UK, the links between such ‘fast-track’ or unsupported transitions and social exclusion have come under a certain policy spotlight. Notably, the importance of difficulties associated with the transition from school to work has been highlighted, and, as discussed in this paper, particular concern, in Scotland and the UK as a whole, has centred on those who are ‘not in education, employment or training’ (‘NEET’) (Scottish Executive (SE) 1999, 2005a, 2005b, 2006b, National Assembly for Wales 2000, Social Exclusion Office (SEU) 2004, 2005, Cabinet Office 2006). Several aspects of this policy focus have been criticised, however. Notably, Yates and Payne point out that the emphasis on young people who are ‘NEET’ not only disguises the heterogeneity of this group, but also diverts attention away from others who, while not ‘NEET’, may also be living in very fragile circumstances (2006) or tracing ‘non-linear’ pathways between education and work (te Riele 2004). In addition, focusing on young people’s ‘occupational’ status may also implicitly disguise the critical importance of family support at this age and the vulnerability of those who lack family or other, including service, supports (Bell & Jones 2002; Jones et al. 2006; Walther et al. 2005).

young adulthood; transition; not in education; parental substance misuse; Parent and child; Problem youth; Teenagers with social disabilities; Child labor; Parenting

Journal of Youth Studies: Volume 11, Issue 3

Publication date30/06/2008
PublisherTaylor & Francis (Routledge)

People (1)


Dr Sarah Wilson

Dr Sarah Wilson

Senior Lecturer, Sociology, Social Policy & Criminology