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Beyond Good Intentions: The Decision-Making Process of Leaving the Family of Origin in Italy

Number: 60
Year: 2014
Author(s): Giulia Ferrari, Alessandro Rosina, Emiliano Sironi
Keywords: leaving the parental home,young adulthood,family ties
ABSTRACT It is well established that the departure from the parental home of young Italian adults occurs at a particularly late age, especially when compared to northern European countries. Moreover, in Italy a large gap exists between young people’s aspirations and their subsequent realization. This study aims to explore the factors favouring or hampering the successful achievement of residential independence from the family of origin. Using data from the longitudinal surveys “Family and Social Subjects”, carried out by the Italian National Institute of Statistics (Istat) in 2003 and 2007, we analyze leaving home as a mid-term decision-making process. Our results provide empirical evidence that the inability to find a stable job reduces young adults’ autonomy. Net of employment status, attitudes and social norms also have an important effect on the intention to leave the family home. The socio-cultural status of the family of origin specifically favours the successful realization of the behaviour. Notably, this effect is gender-specific, with women more influenced by the mother and men by the father.

Giulia Ferrari

Dondena Centre for Research on Social Dynamics, Bocconi University


Alessandro Rosina

Department of Statistical Sciences, Catholic University


Emiliano Sironi

Department of Statistical Sciences, Catholic University


Keywords: Leaving the parental home, young adulthood, family ties

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