Correlations between parents' academic achievements, emerging adult children's perception of their parents' socio-economic status and the educational attainment of the emerging adult children

Young-Clark, Iris
Major Professor
Robert Bosselman
Virginia Caples
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It has been well-documented by researchers that having a higher socio-economic status (SES) enables one to have greater access to an array of materials, goods, and services to promote or support academic achievement (Sirin, 2005). Education is stressed as the most consistent and reliable means to achievement. The investment in one's higher education benefits not only the individual but also broader society and the fundamental well-being of our nation. Given that vital educational decisions are made during the span of years characterized by adolescent becoming emerging adults, research is needed to explore the basis or association of these decisions, measured by the potential connection between parental SES and emerging adults' educational attainment. The present study, using Forward Selection Step-wise Linear Regression and Chi-square analysis, examined the correlations between parents' academic achievement, emerging adult children's perception of their parents' socio-economic status, and the educational attainment of the emerging adult children. The Family Investment Model (FIM), which outlines the positive correlation between SES and parental investments in children, served as the conceptual framework for this study due to the later prediction of educational attainment of emerging adults by the SES-dependent parental investment.

The data for this study were gathered using preexisting data from a national, longitudinal data set, Panel Study of Income Dynamic Study (PSID) 2011 Main Family. The sample consisted of emerging adult respondents (N =1,134) who were between 25 and 29 years old. The emerging adult respondents completed questionnaires through detailed interviews in person or by telephone. Findings of the study indicated that there was a positive correlation observed between emerging adult educational attainment and the following variables: fathers' academic achievement, mothers' academic achievement, emerging adults' perception of their parents' SES, age, and gender. Thus, it is recommended that the results of this study potentially provide a new starting point for community organizations, public school systems, colleges and universities, youth and family-serving state agencies, and federal and policy research organizations to reassess the influence that proxy parenting has on educational attainment.