Parental Support and Youth Occupational Attainment: Help or Hindrance?

Abstract

Although several concerns surround the transition to adulthood and youth increasingly rely on parental support, our knowledge about the implications of parental support for youth development and transition to adulthood is limited. This study fills this gap by conceptualizing development within a life course perspective that links social inequality and early life course transitions. It draws on a subsample of youth observed between age 18 and 28 from the Transition to Adulthood supplement of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics 2005–2015 (N = 7,542; 53% female, 51.3% white). Mixed-effects models reveal that the more direct financial transfers youth receive, the higher their occupational status. Yet, indirect financial support parents offer through co-residence shows the opposite pattern. Among youth receiving monetary transfers, college graduates have particularly high occupational status; however, among youth living with their parents, college graduates have the lowest occupational status. Although different types of parental support may equally act as safety nets, their divergent implications for youths’ occupational attainment raise concerns about the reproduction and possible intensification of inequality during this developmental stage.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Due to the very limited number of non-white non-black cases, a more detailed categorization is not feasible.

  2. 2.

    The 'mi impute chained' command in Stata 14 (StataCorp 2015) was used to impute missing values due to item non-response for occupational status, residential support, number of siblings, job expectations, parental unemployment, parental occupation, family income, race, and parental education. Missingness due to a lack of t-1 values at t1 did not involve imputation; instead, those missing cases were listwise deleted. Independent variables taken into account for generating imputed data include gender, age, race, education, marital and childbearing status, and financial support.

  3. 3.

    The number of observations is reduced to 4832 as no lagged values are observed at t1.

  4. 4.

    The information about continuous employment was derived by transforming the biyearly data into a person-month format, accounting for employment status in each month and calculating the proportion of time each respondent was employed between interview waves.

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Acknowledgements

The author thanks participants to the Center for Social Inequality Studies Brownbag series at the University of Trento, as well as Sergi Vidal and Toby Parcel for comments on earlier drafts of this paper.

Funding

The collection of data used in this study was partly supported by the National Institutes of Health under grant number R01 HD069609 and the National Science Foundation under award number 1157698. No support for this specific research was received by the author.

Data Sharing Declaration

The datasets generated and/or analyzed during the current study are available in the Open ICPSR repository, https://www.openicpsr.org/openicpsr/project/101421/version/V2/view

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Manzoni, A. Parental Support and Youth Occupational Attainment: Help or Hindrance?. J Youth Adolescence 47, 1580–1594 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-018-0856-z

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Keywords

  • Parental support
  • Youth development
  • Occupational attainment
  • Transition to adulthood
  • Social inequality