There has been limited research regarding how minority culture youth experience leaving home. Eight African American individuals who had “launched” from their families-of-origin were interviewed. By using Moustakas’ Transcendental Phenomenological method, several themes emerged to describe the lived experience of leaving home. The themes included need for independence, a comparison of privilege for others and oppression for self, obligation to family, and pride in self-sufficiency. According to the findings in this study, leaving home for young African Americans is a culturally distinct experience which aligns more closely with traditional patterns of leaving home. Although the emerging adulthood era functions as a context in which the participants exist, the young African American participants in this study identified delayed launching as a “failure.”


Moustakas, Phenomenology, Leaving Home, Failure to Launch, Emerging Adulthood, African American

Author Bio(s)

Natosha Nichole Wilson is a MSBS graduate from Cameron University. Her thesis focused on the lived experience of African Americans leaving home during the emerging adulthood era. She works with service members and military families to decrease high-risk behaviors and improve their health and wellness. Her research interests include African American culture and developmental phenomenon, psychological trauma and victimology. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: Natosha Nichole Wilson at Natosha.nichole.wilson@gmail.com.

Dr. Joanni Sailor is an Associate Professor and Director of the Cameron Psychology Clinic at Cameron University. She has 23 years of clinical practice. She serves on the Oklahoma State Board of Behavioral Health Licensure and on the Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards. She directs the Cameron Psychology Clinic which is a community mental health training clinic. Her research interests include Marriage and Family, Romantic love, and Relationships. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: Joanni Sailor at jsailor@cameron.edu.

Dr. Shaun Calix is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at Cameron University, where he is the program lead for the Family and Child Studies major. He has published articles and book chapters on post-divorce coparenting education and adolescent substance abuse treatment. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: Shaun Calix at scalix@cameron.edu.

Dr. William Carney is an Associate Professor and Director of Composition at Cameron University. He holds degrees from Texas Tech University and Stevens Institute of Technology and has published on a variety of topics including ESL pedagogy, technical communication, and public discourse. He presently directs his department’s internship program where he places students in settings that impact public health and community literacy. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: William Carney at wcarney@cameron.edu.

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