Penn State

Scott Gest - Professor of Human Development & Family Studies, Penn State University Park

Book Title: Lifelines and Risks: Pathways of Youth in Our Time

Author: Robert B. Cairns & Beverley D. Cairns

Book Description:

In this book Robert and Beverley Cairns describe results of their landmark Carolina Longitudinal Study of 695 youth from early adolescence through early adulthood, which is scientifically remarkable for several reasons. The Cairns' successful efforts to maintain contact with nearly all living youth across the entire span of the study helped to raise the bar for subsequent longitudinal studies. Drawing from multiple annual assessments and youths' own words, they trace individual developmental pathways in a manner that recognizes both powerful forces for continuity in youths' lives and real if fragile opportunities for positive change through key experiences and caring adults. This book also has great personal meaning to me. During my undergraduate studies at UNC-Chapel Hill, Professor Glen Elder (Sociology) recommended that I take a course from Bob Cairns. Bob ultimately became my honors thesis co-adviser, hired me to work full-time on the Carolina Longitudinal Study from 1987-1989, and was instrumental in helping me gain admission to graduate school.


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