Young adults are at a significant and pivotal time of life. They may seek higher education, launch their work lives, develop personal relationships and healthy habits, and pursue other endeavors that help set them on healthy and productive pathways. However, the transition to adulthood also can be a time of increased vulnerability and risk. Young adults may be unemployed and homeless, lack access to health care, suffer from mental health issues or other chronic health conditions, or engage in binge drinking, illicit drug use, or driving under the influence. Young adults are moving out of the services and systems that supported them as children and adolescents, but adult services and systems--for example, the adult health care system, the labor market, and the justice system--may not be well suited to supporting their needs. Improving the Health, Safety, and Well-Being of Young Adults is the summary of a workshop hosted by the Board on Children, Youth, and Families of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and the National Research Council (NRC) in May, 2013. More than 250 researchers, practitioners, policy makers, and young adults presented and discussed research on the development, health, safety, and well-being of young adults. This report focuses on the developmental characteristics and attributes of this age group and its placement in the life course; how well young adults function across relevant sectors, including, for example, health and mental health, education, labor, justice, military, and foster care; and how the various sectors that intersect with young adults influence their health and well-being. Improving the Health, Safety, and Well-Being of Young Adults provides an overview of existing research and identifies research gaps and issues that deserve more intensive study. It also is meant to start a conversation aimed at a larger IOM/NRC effort to guide research, practices, and policies affecting young adults.
Publisher: National Academies Press