Failure to Launch — Contributing and Mitigating Factors

Through two single-gender programs and a community living program for those with developmental disabilities, Q & A Associates helps young adults to gain independence and agency in the community. Q & A Associates welcomes participants with a wide variety of challenges, including those experiencing what is known as failure to launch.

The popular phrase “failure to launch,” made famous by the Matthew McConaughey film in 2006, describes an increasingly troublesome segment of the population. These individuals, aged approximately 18 to 28, find themselves living at home with their parents due to a variety of factors that inhibit their ability to find independent situations. The US Census reveals that more than 50 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds fall into this category, while the 13 percent of 24- to 35-year-olds in the same situation make up the highest total of its kind in census history.

Some attribute the prevalence of young adults living at home to a poor job market. While this is indeed a cause in some cases, lack of employment may also exacerbate these situations by decreasing motivation. Unable to find work, young people begin to feel that searching is hopeless and simply give up.

For these young people, positive support and accountability are key. They must feel like valued and contributing adults, while also receiving encouragement to work toward independence. Many in this situation may benefit from further professional help, which may come in the form of individual therapy or a community living situation.

Professional assistance is particularly crucial for those young people who experience mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety. Such conditions can easily interfere with an individual’s ability to function and undermine confidence to a destructive degree.

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