This article reviews the similarities and differences in the transition to adulthood in Europe. Recent change and the still striking diversity in pathways to adulthood in Europe have attracted growing comparative research interests. The considerable heterogeneity in institutional arrangements, cultural heritage, and economic life observed across contemporary European societies provides fertile ground for testing hypotheses of various macro-level theories and approaches addressing interactions between micro- and macro-level factors. Pursuing a comparative perspective, this review frames the transition to adulthood within a life course perspective. After having mapped the terrain of recent change and contemporary diversity in the transition to adulthood in Europe, the review presents the theoretical perspectives predominantly used to explain diversity and discusses whether the empirical evidence squares with the theoretical propositions. The review concludes by suggesting how future research could advance understanding of the complex nature of the transition to adulthood in Europe.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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