Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Program Name/Specialization

Developmental Psychology


Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Dr. Joan Norris

Advisor Role



During young adulthood (ages 20-39), individuals begin to develop a future orientation by thinking about their possible selves. In this longitudinal study, young adults’ future hopes and fears were examined in relation to their perceptions of the parenting style they experienced in adolescence. An interview was conducted with participants at age 26 and 32 to assess their future possible selves. Participants discussed both hoped-for and feared selves. The long-term impact of parenting on future hopes and fears was examined by exploring the possible impact of perceived parenting styles experienced in adolescence. Interviews were conducted in 2005 and 2011 with 26 year old participants (N = 100; 69% women) and 32 year old participants (N = 114; 71% women), respectively. At both ages, the top three hopes discussed by participants included work/career, marriage/relationship, and parenthood. At age 26, the top three fears discussed by participants included marriage/relationship, work/career, and mental health, however, at age 32, participants identified physical health and parenthood in addition to marriage/relationship fears. Perceived parenting style at adolescence did not generally have any association with hopes and fears at ages 26 and 32. However, participants who scored higher on the perceived parenting measure at age 17 discussed more parenthood hopes at age 32 compared to the participants who reported lower perceptions of the parenting styles they experienced. The results of the current study show how young adults are defining their future, with frequent consideration of work/career, marriage/relationships, and parenthood. These findings may inform the design of career interventions and therapy setting for young adults.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season