Failure to launch: U of S student examining crowded nest syndrome

Failure to launch: U of S student examining crowded nest syndrome

More than 40 per cent of young adults in their 20s in Canada haven't left the nest — and the relationship between parents and their adult children has intrigued a University of Saskatchewan researcher.

​Kathrina Mazurik, a PhD student, is researching the experiences of young people living at home. She's conducting in-depth interviews about how the relationships with their parents are changing, such as how housework is distributed and how they address romantic partners overnighting.

"What I'm seeing so far is that these families' experiences are not uniform at all. Some people have a better experience than other people," Mazurik said during an interview with CBC Radio's Saskatoon Morning.

"I think it's a lot of trial and error and a lot goes on under the surface and it's not talked about."

Mazurik said according to the most recent Statistics Canada census, about 42 per cent of people in their 20s lived at home in 2011. That's up from 1981, when 27 per cent lived with their parents.

That "significant increase," Mazurik said, is related to a number of economic factors, a jump in the number of people who attend post-secondary institutions, and a delay of traditional milestones.

"Having a baby, becoming a parent, getting married: all of these are being delayed three to seven years from where they were in the '60s and '70s," she said.

Tackling misconceptions

Mazurik said she knows the situation first hand. She lived at home until she was 24 to avoid going into debt while attending university.

She said she had a positive relationship with her parents but she said many young adults living at home are often perceived in the media as being irresponsible.

"They were saying things like, 'people who live at home are infantile, lazy' — that kind of thing — and that made me kind of curious about the diversity of possible experiences people might have when they live with their parents."