Parental Divorce, Educational Expectations, and Educational Attainment among Young Adults

Camron S. Devor, Iowa State University
Susan D. Stewart, Iowa State University

Most research on parental divorce and academic achievement has focused on children and adolescents. There are few studies of young adults, and most focus on undergraduate education. Yet, education beyond a bachelor's degree has become increasingly important in ensuring one's future economic success. Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997, this study investigated whether and how parental divorce affects young adults' educational attainment, measured by attainment of a bachelor's degree, a graduate or professional degree, or enrollment in a graduate/professional program. A secondary goal was to assess the role of parental educational expectations. Results indicate that parental divorce and lower educational expectations among parents were associated with lower educational attainment among young adults. Lower parental educational expectations did not explain lower educational attainment for young adults with divorced parents. Future research should explore factors that explain lower rates of educational attainment among young adults with divorced parents.

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 Presented in Session P4. Children and Youth/Population and Aging