chapter  11
43 Pages

Beyond “Children of the Great Depression”

ByGlen H. Elder

This chapter presents the study of both the Depression and war in American lives, and of how this work has contributed to new ways of thinking about human lives and development. Children of the Great Depression became a research plan in the 60s, a time of extraordinary change. Explanations for generational tensions and conflicts were frequently sought in the different historical worlds of parents and their college-age children. The Oakland and Berkeley cohorts were subject to the influence of major historical events beyond the Great Depression, particularly World War two and the Korean conflict. Oakland boys from hard-pressed families were more likely than the younger Berkeley boys to be involved in adult life-tasks within the family economy, to aspire to grownup status, and to enter adult roles of marriage and work at an early age. When war mobilization began in the 1940s, the younger Berkeley youth were in high school, surrounded by symbols of the war effort.