Research Article
Issue Date: March/April 2021
Published Online: February 02, 2021
Updated: February 12, 2021
Preparation for Adulthood: Shifting Responsibility for Management of Daily Tasks From Parents to Their Children
Author Affiliations
  • Ying-Chia Kao, ScD, OTR, is Assistant Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, Asia University, Taichung, Taiwan; yckao@asia.edu.tw
  • Wendy Coster, PhD, OTR, FAOTA, is Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, Boston University, Boston, MA.
  • Ellen S. Cohn, ScD, OTR, FAOTA, is Clinical Professor Emerita, Department of Occupational Therapy, Boston University, Boston, MA.
  • Gael I. Orsmond, PhD, is Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, Boston University, Boston, MA.
Article Information
Pediatric Evaluation and Intervention / Rehabilitation, Participation, and Disability / Research Articles
Research Article   |   February 02, 2021
Preparation for Adulthood: Shifting Responsibility for Management of Daily Tasks From Parents to Their Children
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, February 2021, Vol. 75, 7502205050. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2020.041723
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, February 2021, Vol. 75, 7502205050. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2020.041723
Abstract

Importance: Limited research has described the timing of acquisition of the broad range of skills required for the transition to adulthood.

Objective: To describe the timing of the shift of responsibility for daily tasks from parent to child.

Design: This study used an existing data set of parent responses to 49 items in the Responsibility domain of the Pediatric Evaluation of Disability Inventory Computer Adaptive Tests.

Participants: A U.S. nationally representative sample of 2,205 typically developing children and youth ages 0 to 20 yr.

Outcomes and Measures: Descriptive analyses focused on two ages: (1) starting age (when >50% of parents reported their child was taking at least some responsibility for a task) and (2) full responsibility age (when >50% of parents reported their child was taking full responsibility for the task).

Results: The process of shifting responsibility for daily life tasks from parent to child typically occurred over a long period. Many task items had an interval of 5 yr from starting age to full responsibility age; the longest interval was 15 yr. Youth began assuming responsibility for more complex tasks and tasks that involved more risk at ages 10 to 15.

Conclusions and Relevance: Results can serve as a reference for the timing of the transition to greater self-management of daily life tasks across childhood and adolescence. Timing of responsibility shifts may reflect a combination of development of underlying capacities and social transitions. Executive functioning may be especially relevant for management of the more complex tasks required in daily life in adulthood.

What This Article Adds: The transfer of responsibility for managing tasks of daily life from parents to children often extends over a period of many years. Clinicians may find the results helpful when discussing the future with parents of young people with disabilities and other chronic conditions and the tasks that their children must learn to manage for independent living as an adult.