Men Living with Mom and Dad Have a Taste for the Ultraviolence

clockwork-orangeThe incidence of twentysomething men still living with their parents has been on the rise for many years, even more now as the economy tumbles.  But a new study suggests that mom and dad are not doing junior any favors by letting him leech.  Rather than helping him, they may be enabling his violent tendencies.

The study examined 8397 young men and women, focusing on mental health problems and violent behavior over the past five years.  The results: in comparison to those not living at home, staying in the parental home is a stronger risk factor for young men’s violence than any other single factor.

The main reason for this finding cited by the researchers is that young men living at home enjoy the accommodations provided by their parents without very much responsibility. They have more disposable income (because they’re not paying rent, supporting a family, etc.) which gives them more access to alcohol and drugs, which in turn strongly correlates with violence outside the home, typically involving strangers. In the UK, where this study was performed, young men living at home make up only four percent of the population but account for 16 percent of violent injuries.

Other studies, like this one, have found a link between living with parents as an adult and higher levels of depression.  There may be something about not transitioning into an independent role that casts a shadow on the psyche.

On the other hand, cultural factors must also be taken into account.  The negative dynamics of living at home in the UK and U.S. don’t necessarily apply to other places, like Italy for example, where a whopping 80% of men ages 18-30 still live with their parents.  This study delved into that astonishing fact and found something quite interesting: a 10% increase in parents’ annual income correlates with a 10% increase in the proportion of men living with their parents. 

In other words, the more money mom and dad have on hand to support their adult children, the more their adult children are happy to oblige by sticking around.  The rub, however, is that Italian parents seem happy to have them stay.  Coresidence is considered a net positive for both parents and children, unlike in other countries–the U.S. in particular–where it’s often perceived as shameful and embarrassing.



Filed under About Research

11 responses to “Men Living with Mom and Dad Have a Taste for the Ultraviolence

  1. Perhaps it’s not living at home that causes the problems, but the reverse. Kids sometimes live at home because they have problems, because they are prone to depression, because they start out deeply troubled and prone to violence, because they cannot get or keep work, and have bad coping mechanisms.

    After years of observing a troubled sibling retreating home to parents frequently over the years, I worry whether my own kids will ever fully leave home. With three kids between 16 and 20, although I love them dearly, I panic at the thought of them all moving back in and never leaving after or during college.

    I have a kid with multiple diagnoses who most likely will stay home for longer than one might plan for in “normal” middle class life (one would ordinarily hope that a kid would go off to college, work a few years, grad school, find interesting work that pays enough to live on, marry, live independently, and visit periodically).

    Living at home can be a safety net for a single and underemployed kid with “issues” (certain behaviors will get someone evicted, or kicked out of even a group home). It is generally extremely hard on the health and mental equilibrium of the parents, however.

    I can’t remember EVER hearing a parent of adult child in residence (healthy or troubled tho the kid may be) exclaiming “Wow! I am SO glad that Junior is still at home. He is such a help, and life is so much more lively and stimulating with the young fellow around….” Whereas they do say things like that about visits from a hardworkin child who lives independently. So far as the unpaid landlord parents go, one hears grumbling and guilty wishing that the brat would man up, find work and live in a slum if that’s what it takes for them to get their own place. Where I live (a luxurious suburb) the kids have got used to a far higher standard of living in childhood than an entry level job could purchase for them as young adults..

    Having said all that, as our economic situation worsens, I worry about the stresses on families of having kids endlessly in residence, because they cannot find enough work to set up an independent household, even when adult. We North Americans are descended from immigrants who fled the family hearth for opportunities on their own in the New World. Genetically loaded for striking out on our own, not happy extended family togetherness…

    Friends of mine with older kids are being ground down now as their kids lose jobs, get divorced, or just fail to launch. They love the kids, but had hoped for something different.

    In the past, when kids stayed at home til marriage, they either worked on the farm or family business and/or contributed their salary from an outside job to the family. Nowadays, most kids living at home in adulthood, keep every penny that they earn in whatever work they can find, and live rent free, eating and phoning at Mom and Dad’s expense. They expect to have an independent and adult social life, and naturally resist any control or intrusive parental attention. They do not usually feel obliged to contribute work or money to the family. Given that many of their parents are also insecure in employment in this economy, there can be bitter disputes over whose bills take priority.

    Sorry to be so verbose, guess you struck a nerve! (am not an ogress, despite wanting the baby birds to leave the nest)

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  3. Dr X

    Retriever’s observation is generally supported by my observations as a clinician. Young people with underlying psychopathology that is manifest long before it’s time to leave home often have difficulty launching lives independent of their parents.

  4. Jm

    With regards to the study on depression, I have been thinking that some cases of mental disturbance, and even violence and drug-use may be link to the cultural view of the ‘immature loser who still lives with his parents’. If a person is not of a certain type, or is unable to find a large social network on which to rely, due to the state of the economy he or she may be forced to live at home. Then, he or she begins to feel like a failure – not because of reality as much as what the culture is telling them (since in other cultures it is expected that a child will stay at home until marriage). This leads to depression, which can lead to drug use and violence. Just another possibility, though I agree that retriever’s scenario is just as likely, if not more likely.

    Retriever’s comment makes a lot of assumptions. Like the idea that adult children living at home never actually contribute to the family – something that, from my experience, is rarely the case. In an family that supports actual familial ties, and familial intimacy (healthy, and out of fashion these days) contribution is assumed.

    There is also a lot of pressure on kids to ‘be successful’ without all of them fully understanding what that means, or even how to accomplish that goal. So they push themselves into something that they can ONLY fail at, causing financial woes.

    Just some ideas. Obviously my main point is that every child, and every family is different.

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  6. Louis

    It’s the reality of living in the boomerang generation, where high student debts and low starting salaries are forcing more and more young men and women to live at home for longer before moving out.

    Living at home in your mid-twenties doesn’t have the stigma it used to, simply because nobody walks out of high school into a $30/hr starting job with union protection anymore

    People still do move out, but later on in life than they used to. Especially those crushed with debts and who are without mommy and daddy’s financial assistance. Not everybody has parents with trust funds that can help them come out of school debt free, buy their first car and rent their first place.

  7. oweneden

    I left my hometown of St. Louis, MO in 1993 to move to West Hollywood, CA because I wanted to live in a large gay friendly city. I also liked the climate. Since that time, my parents and siblings have done just about anything they could to get me to move back home. they have promised me cars, condominiums, and really nice apartments if only I would move back home. Probably if I were smarter, I would have taken them up on it.

  8. Robert

    Unfortunatly many grown men in America are having to move back into
    there parents house.Its a sad time for not just felons ,black ,poor whites ,homeless vets ,and pretty much any human being that works for a few bucks an hour.Working for crap is not an issue for me .

    What I do find a issue is that grown men can work and can not even live in there own ghettos is no wonder why millions of blacks are in the system.Does our government truly expect men to get married and shack up with women .

    There are millions of men so insecure about there government and the wages there being payed they cant even have peace of mind or a place in the hood.Its no wonder why we need so any prisons .

    I feel its time for people to start learning to respect themselves all over the world .When we look at protest and revolutions around the world you dont see but a few women on the front rows of hard core protest this is because in the poor countries of the world the men have had enough ,they have no future and government seek to push man deeper into dispair .

    I feel true unity can occur when man can work and atleast live in his local ghetto .A world where people excel together and a end to terrorism ,extremism ,relgionist is better division destroys man seperates him ,alienates him in a era of light darkness must be wiped off the map.

  9. Tito

    If grown men cant rent in ghettos we tons of mass shooting so great that the news says hey trash let your adult men rentrr their blasting our brauinbsz and opening fire on trash its a problems the greatest gift any man can give to any country thaqt does nto allow its adult men to rent is a mass shoting when grown men can not rent in ghettos its not a social problem but a seiorus scum bagf of course any man can tackloe the problem unload a few measly hundreds rounds sand praus that some trash will let adulyt men rent the problem is thaqt wehen you talk to tarha will the treash say hey let s let men rent ythe amn shgitteion youtr fglkag

  10. Tito

    If grown men couldn’t rent I would be mass shooting myself . Its against ethics, morals and values if grown men couldn’t rent in ghettos Id commit so many mass shoojting that united nations would be calling say hey trash hrey garbage let your men rent trash mayday trash when adulty men cant rent in ghetto that greaqtr gidfyt you can give to their floasg is great mass shooytitng thatr trash says hey trash let let emnn rent their dhxiooitingonyor flgazg. If grtown men can rent I would rapise and worship good for empowering men to be americanb greatest mas shoter that cxomit mass hsooting so greart tha menj could rent ID shit ronthis flag anfd worship god above so adult men coulod ren tI just s ad to know that if I shiottedx on this gf flag that adulyt men might not be able to rent ifdd I can only shit onthis flagf and kil a few hundred people so adulyt men xcanr ent sahiitng ohnthis flagf and blasitn my nbraibs out is easy but If I shit onthis gfflgsg I want the FCia and gfbi to knowq that I shoitted so hard that muslim praised gofd an sdais hey shittedin your fac eanbd losr tynbothign hey shittwed inyoufacve and flag and lostr nothignand lauighed he shitted inbyour fac ean dflag and lose ntoihgi anfd shitedonyour falg so hard that muslmis rejoicesd and saud hey treash you just goted shittedinyourface trash get out trash

  11. 23122131

    Didn’t mean nothing I said in the above 2 post but it feels good to just be able to type what you want what I sure is my anger not what I mean its not a good feeling to live in a country club or in a area with people where the women ask you where is your house why cant you date when you see trash wages live with your family in your in your mid 30s and see them about to head to retirement its a horrible feeling to live in a world where you work and can not support yourself. And if you want to you have not just step out of your comfort zone but live with people you cant trust or now. After being in prison for years how wants to sleep or deal with a bunch of drunks and drug addicts. I became sick 2 years ago after being blamed for things I didn’t do and losing everything sometimes I wish I did do it even though I never killed no one in my life to live with no happiness and to see others live with none makes life suck

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