Publications & Reports

Returning to the nest: Emerging adults living with parents during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prattley J, Evans-Whipp T, O'Donnell K, Wong C, Quinn B, Rowland B
Australian Institute of Family Studies Southbank Victoria Australia.


Changes in the working, study and social lives of emerging adults due to the COVID-19 pandemic have led to greater need for external supports. Many who lived independently may have sought that support by returning to live with parents. This study identifies factors associated with returns made between 2019 and 2020. It describes supports needed and obtained, relationships between parents and their resident emerging adults and identifies correlates of poor coping and high psychological distress. Data from the Longitudinal Surveys of Australian Youth and the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children were used and showed half of the emerging adults who moved did so due to COVID-19 restrictions. Loss of work and increased need for emotional and financial support were key drivers of moves. Nineteen per cent who returned found spending more time with family difficult and over half did not have their support needs fully met, increasing their odds of poor coping at that time (OR = 2.9, 4.3, respectively) and subsequent psychological distress (OR = 6.0). Families were an important source of support but could not necessarily mitigate all challenges; for some emerging adults, returning to live with parents gave rise to additional difficulties which negatively affected mental health.

Link to publisher’s web site


  • Journal: The Australian Journal of Social Issues
  • Published: 01/01/2023
  • Volume: Epub ahead of print