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Failure to emerge

Extreme social withdrawal and dependence in emerging adulthood

In many countries the percentage of young adults still living with their parents has been steadily rising since 2000. More people in the 25-34 age group remain in the parental home. There seem to be many sociocultural and economic reasons for this occurrence. Temporarily living at home and receiving help from one’s parents may be a normative and economically rational phase that allows the young person to find his way in life. In many cases, however, the transition to fully autonomous functioning does not occur or is reversed after an abortive attempt at independence, which may lead to chronic dependence on parental support.

In Greece, Italy, Portugal, and Spain, well over half of all young adults currently live with their parents. In the United Kingdom and North America, these rates are significantly higher compared to past decades. In Japan, estimates are in the millions of self-isolating and dependent adults, which has aroused considerable social and financial concerns.

Many popular terms have been devised world wide for low or non-functioning dependent youth, including “Hikikomori” (Japan), “Bamboccioni (Italy),” “Tanguy Syndrome” (France) “NEET” (not in employment, education, or training) or “KIPPERS” (kids in parents’ pockets eroding retirement savings) in England, “Boomerang Children” (Canada), “Mamma’s Hotel Children,” (Austria), Kangurus (South Korea), “Full Nest Syndrome” “ILYA” (incompletely launched young adult), “Twixters”, and “Failure to Launch” in the US.

In 2009, Haim Omer coined the term Adult Entitled Dependence (AED) to denote a condition in which emotional or material dependence of adult offspring on parents leads to dysfunction and distress.

AED is defined as a chronic, family systemic condition involving a dysfunctional adult offspring and at least one parent who accommodates to the patterns of dependence by providing age-inappropriate services. AED is distinct from simply living with one’s parents or enjoying their support, as is widely accepted in many cultures. AED is characterized by impaired functioning and parental services that are beyond the norm for the given culture.

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