Parenting Styles and College Enrollment: A Path Analysis of Risky Human Capital Decisions

Abstract

In this study, we examined how parents influence the higher education decision-making process of young adults. Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997, results from a path analysis showed that, although parenting styles were not directly linked with college enrollment, they were indirectly associated with college enrollment via their prior associations with a number of variables, including young adults’ subjective probability of completing college, time preferences, academic achievement, cognitive ability, and parental expectations. These findings suggest that although parents may be less directly involved with higher education choices of young adults, they still have an important indirect influence on these choices. Parenting style impacts the child’s beliefs, expectations, and attitudes, all of which ultimately play a role in the decision of whether or not to enroll in college.

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Correspondence to Jonathan G. Kimmes.

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Kimmes, J.G., Heckman, S.J. Parenting Styles and College Enrollment: A Path Analysis of Risky Human Capital Decisions. J Fam Econ Iss 38, 614–627 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10834-017-9529-4

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Keywords

  • College enrollment
  • Parenting style
  • Family dynamics
  • Financial decision-making
  • Higher education