Young adults are at a significant and pivotal time of life. They might seek higher education, launch their working careers, develop personal relationships and healthy habits, and pursue other endeavors that help set them on healthy and productive pathways. However, the transition to adulthood can also be a time of increased vulnerability and risk. Some young adults are unemployed or homeless, lack access to health care, or have mental health conditions or other chronic health concerns. Others engage in binge drinking, illicit drug use, or driving under the influence. Young adults are moving out of the systems and institutions that supported them as children and adolescents, but adult systems and institutions – such as the adult health care system and the labor market – may not be well suited to support their needs.
On May 7-8, 2013, the IOM and National Research Council held a workshop to bring together more than 250 researchers, practitioners, policy makers, and young adults. The workshop was designed to highlight research on the development, health, safety, and well-being of young adults. The workshop will help inform a forthcoming consensus study. This document summarizes the workshop.