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J Pediatr Psychol. 2011 Apr;36(3):265-76. doi: 10.1093/jpepsy/jsq075. Epub 2010 Sep 19.

Adolescent predictors of emerging adulthood milestones in youth with spina bifida.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Loyola University Chicago, 1032 W. Sheridan Road, Chicago, IL 60660, USA.



To examine the predictive utility of demographic (illness status and SES), individual (neurocognitive functioning and intrinsic motivation), and family-based (parental intrusiveness) factors during adolescence on the achievement of emerging adulthood milestones in youth with and without spina bifida (SB).


Questionnaire and observational data were collected from 14/15-year-old adolescents with SB, typically developing peers, mothers, and teachers. Emerging adulthood milestones (i.e., leaving home, attending college, employment, romantic relationship experience, and number of friendships) were assessed at ages 18/19 years in the full sample and subset of youth who graduated from high school.


Typically, developing youth were more likely to achieve milestones compared to youth with SB in the full sample but not when only high school graduates were compared. Executive function, SES, intrinsic motivation, and parental intrusiveness emerged as significant predictors for particular milestones.


Interventions targeting executive function, intrinsic motivation, and parenting behavior may facilitate achievement of emerging adulthood milestones.

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