Timespans and plans among young adults

Michael Anderson, Frank Bechhofer, David McCrone, Lynn Jamieson, Yaojun Li, Robert Stewart

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This article uses data from a survey of young adults in Kirkcaldy, Fife, together with associated qualitative interviews, to throw empirical light on their sense of control over their lives and their perceived willingness and ability to plan their lives. Its principal conclusion, contrary to the suggestions of much previous literature, is that a majority of young adults of both genders do, by their early twenties at least, feel in control of their lives and able to exercise forethought over quite long periods of time with respect to many aspects of their futures. Far from seeing the future as simply 'an extended present', they see active opportunities for choice and for formulating their own lives in the years ahead. Only a minority, predominantly those who feel themselves in particularly insecure circumstances, live primarily for the present or think ahead only or principally for the very short term. Copyright © 2005 BSA Publications Ltd®.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-155
Number of pages16
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • Ambition
  • Career
  • Control
  • Forethought
  • Planning
  • Security
  • Time
  • Young adults


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