College Students’ Adjustment: The Role of Parent–College Student Expectation Discrepancies and Communication Reciprocity

  • Allison Kanter Agliata
  • Kimberly RenkEmail author
Original Paper


Parents’ influence on college students’ adjustment is underestimated frequently. As college students often set goals based on their perceptions of their parents’ expectations, discrepancies between college students’ and their parents’ expectations may be related to their adjustment. The purpose of this study was to examine parent–college student expectation discrepancies and communication reciprocity as predictors of college students’ adjustment in a diverse sample of 69 male and 105 female freshmen and sophomores from a large southeastern university. A subsample of their mothers and fathers also participated in this study. Correlational results revealed that college students report experiencing lower levels of self-worth and adjustment when higher expectation discrepancies are present between themselves and their parents. Regression results also indicated that expectation discrepancies and college students’ perceptions of communication reciprocity are important predictors of college students’ self-worth and adjustment. Such findings suggested that teaching assertive communication skills to college students and their parents may serve as a means of promoting positive outcomes for college students.


College Students Parents Expectations Communication Adjustment 



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 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.U.S. Air ForceShreveportUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Central FloridaOrlandoUSA

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