What Causes Failure to Launch Syndrome

July 31, 2014
What Causes Failure to Launch Syndrome

Failure to launch syndrome isn’t classified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Rather, the terminology accounts for the 14 percent of adults ages 24 to 34 who are still living with their parents, per a recent Gallup poll. The number of young adults who fit the loose criteria for failure to launch syndrome seems to be rising steadily with each passing year.

Root Causes

It is believed that more than one component goes into the development of failure to launch syndrome in most cases, with the possibilities being:

The Nitty Gritty

Unemployment rates have been significantly higher in recent years, leading to a flood of applicants across the board of most job markets. Currently, the employment rate is at a 6.1 percent average nationwide, per the United States Bureau of Labor and Statistics. While the current state of the economy hasn’t helped with job measures, neither has the increasing popularity of a slew of degrees that aren’t proving to be very helpful to students post-graduation. Fox Business reported on a Georgetown University study that showed those holding liberal arts degrees held a 9.4 percent unemployment rate. While the liberal arts deserve a certain amount of respect, some of the most popular degrees of the genre are in fields like Psychology, a major that is ranked as being in the top five among U.S. students per About.com.

Societal Contributions

Likewise, the age of technology and the Internet has aided in leading many of today’s younger generation toward a lifestyle that is instant gratification-oriented. Essentially, they want what they want and they want it now. Forbes recently reported on the results of an MTV survey on what millennials are looking for in their ideal workplace. Some of the most popular results were a preference to be unemployed over having a job they hated and loving what they do being more important than salary or bonus checks. Further, more than three-quarters of those surveyed believed they had a thing or two to teach their boss, and 66 percent desired to create their own job. In a nutshell, what was once referred to as a “dream job” by baby boomers is what Generation Y has come to expect as their reality, and many are ending up so disappointed that they just give up, or at least stick around at Mom and Dad’s until the dream becomes a reality.


Last but not least, we cannot ignore the fact that a child’s upbringing generally has something to do with how they turn out as an adult. Those who were overly coddled as children and not regularly allowed to fend for themselves on certain issues may grow up to expect the same nurturing and codependent lifestyle permitted by their parents. In situations where it is, the cycle continues.

Getting Help

During a typical stay at the Optimum Performance Institute, you will meet a variety of people from all walks of life — some will be professionals, like life coaches and therapists, and some will be patients who are just like you. Inpatient treatment begins on day one with thorough evaluations of every patient. The number one goal of our treatment programs is to assess the patient and become well-versed not just with your personality, but also how your family functions, what major events have happened in your life, and what deters you from moving forward. When it comes to failure to launch syndrome, we can help here at OPI.