This article reviews studies that depict the developmental transition from adolescence to young adulthood of persons who have experienced serious emotional disturbance (SED) as children or adolescents. The literature demonstrates that their plight in young adulthood is grave. Youth with SED enter the transition phase delayed in their developmental maturation and face additional challenges relative to their nondisabled peers. As a group, they are undereducated, underemployed, and have limited social supports. Homelessness, criminal activity, and drug use are prevalent. This article defines the transitional youth population, describes the developmental tasks of transition, and summarizes the results of longitudinal studies that have tracked functional outcomes of transitional youth into young adulthood. The discussion focuses on the relevance of these findings to service provision.
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