The Effect of Parenting Styles and Depressive Symptoms on Young Adult’s Educational Attainment
Hearne, Brittany Nicole
Authoritative parenting, which is a careful balance between responsiveness to a child’s needs and control over the child’s behavior, is touted in the research literature as the style of parenting which allows youth to excel in multiple arenas, including academic endeavors. However, less is known about the specific mechanisms that connect parenting styles to educational outcomes. In this thesis, I utilize nationally representative data for African Americans, Hispanics, and whites to determine whether mental health may be one mechanism that mediates the relationship between four parenting styles (i.e., authoritarian, authoritative, permissive, and uninvolved) and educational attainment. Further, I assess whether the basic relationships among parenting styles, mental health, and educational attainment vary by race and ethnicity. I find that youth with uninvolved or authoritarian parents were more likely to experience depressive affect and that these symptoms of depression mediate the relationship between these parenting styles and education. In terms of racial and ethnic differences, I find that African Americans and Hispanics with authoritarian or uninvolved parents earn more years of education, compared to their white counterparts. Similarly, authoritarian parenting results in a higher probability of college graduation for African Americans and Hispanics, but a lower probability for whites.