College Students’ Affective Distress: The Role of Expectation Discrepancies and Communication

  • Allison Kanter Agliata
  • Kimberly RenkEmail author
Original Paper


The discrepancy between college students’ performance and parents’ expectations may be related to college students’ affective distress. Further, the role that parent–college student communication reciprocity may play in the context of these discrepancies has not been examined. As a result, this study examined parent–college student expectation discrepancies and communication reciprocity as predictors of college students’ affective distress (i.e., anger, depression, and anxiety). Results of this study suggest that college student–parent expectation discrepancies, communication reciprocity, and college students’ affective distress (i.e., anger, depression, and anxiety) are interrelated significantly. Further, results from the hierarchical regressions conducted for this study suggest that college students’ perception of their communication reciprocity with their parents may be a more important predictor of college students’ depression and anxiety in the context of the expectation discrepancies examined in this study. These findings underscore the importance of teaching communication skills to college students and their parents as a means of diminishing the deleterious effects of perceiving one another inaccurately.


Parent College student Expectation discrepancies Communication reciprocity Anger Depression Anxiety 



This manuscript is based in part on the dissertation of the first author, who was supervised by the second author. Special thanks to Valerie Sims, Ph.D., Jack McGuire, Ph.D., and Mike Robinson, Ed.D., for their comments on an earlier version of this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Carrollwood Day SchoolCarrollwoodUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Central FloridaOrlandoUSA

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