Leaving the parental home in Italy: are behaviours consistent with young adults’ intentions?

Giulia Ferrari, Università di Roma "La Sapienza"
Alessandro Rosina, Università Cattolica, Milan

Leaving the parental home is one of the principal steps towards the transition into adulthood and it generally occurs after the end of formal education and the beginning of a stable job and before a union formation and parenthood. In Italy however it takes place later than in others European countries, especially the Northern ones, and mainly for marriage or cohabitation purposes. Reasons for this long delay can be found in economic (hard job market with low entrance income and expensive housing rents), structural (lack of specific welfare policies) and cultural (long permanence into formal education, familism and strong family ties) aspects which characterize the Italian case. Until nowadays it was impossible for scholars to investigate in dept the motives for this particular situation at a micro level because of the lack of proper longitudinal data. Nevertheless, using the first Italian panel data on family issues, in this article we are able to (1) analyse people intentions of leaving the parental home as directly dependent on attitudes, norms and perceived behavioural control and indirectly dependent on individual socio-economic characteristics, human capital and background factors, basing on Fishbein-Ajzen’s social-psychological “Theory of planned behaviour”; (2) compare young adults’ intentions and behaviours of leaving the parental home in order to understand which are the impediments or the opportunities that intervene in shaping the outcome of this specific decision-making process. (3) We will finally give suggestions for policy interventions aimed at helping young adult in their transition to adulthood, through for example rent discounts. We expect a positive impact of socio-economic as well as non-material factors on people’s intentions about residential independence. We further hypothesize a strong effect of young adult’s intentions on consecutive actual behaviours.

Presented in Poster Session 1