Parental Investment in Childhood and Later Adult Well-Being: Can More Interested Parents Offset the Effects of Socioeconomic Disadvantage?

Darcy W. Hango, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)

Parental involvement in their children’s lives can have a lasting impact on well-being. More involved parents convey to their children that they are interested in their development, and this in turn signals to the child that their future is valued. However, what happens in socioeconomically disadvantaged homes? Can the social capital produced by greater parental involvement counteract some of the harmful effects of less financial capital? The sample is drawn from the National Child Development Study, a longitudinal study of children born in Britain in 1958. Results on a sample of children raised in intact families suggest that father interest in education has a somewhat larger direct impact on later education than does mother interest. Moreover, parental involvement/interest at age 11 and 16 does reduce the impact of familial poverty at age 7 and 11 on educational attainment; however, the harmful effect of poverty still remains.

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Presented in Session 93: Family Influences on Child Well Being