Social capital and transitions to adulthood in Thailand: empirical Investigation across multiple realms of life

Sara Curran, Princeton University
Sarah Martin, Princeton University
Amara Soonthorndhada, Mahidol University
Sirinan Kittisuksathit, Mahidol University

Research on the role of social capital in influencing adolescent lives and their transitions to adulthood suggests that it is a critical intervening element, but incompletely understood. Our comprehensive approach investigates how peer networks, intergenerational ties, and community resources influence adolescent transitions across a five realms of life: health and sexual activity; education; work; leisure; and family. Our data come from 72 interviews with Thai youth, parents, and community leaders to solicit their perspectives and experiences about adolescence and transitions to adulthood. We find that social capital exists in many forms in Thailand, but to varying extent and influence. For girls, less social capital means early transitions to motherhood and marriage, greater risk of sexual intercourse and HIV/AIDS contraction, and higher incidence of lower quality working conditions. For young men, lower levels of all types of social capital raise the risks of violent accidents and early fatherhood.

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Presented in Poster Session 4