Understanding variations in parental advice and interest: a focus on differences and similarities in educational attainment between parents and their adult children

Brett Ory, Erasmus University Rotterdam
Renske Keizer, Erasmus University Rotterdam
Pearl Dykstra, Erasmus University Rotterdam

The relationship between educational attainment and parental advice and interest in adult children is not well understood. Although prior studies have given attention to how parental support is influenced by dyad characteristics such as residential propinquity, relationship quality, or prior support, few studies have considered educational attainment as a dyad characteristic. Yet the educational status of the both the parent and child might affect parental advice and interest if educational similarities provide common ground for parents and children’s interests while educational differences give parents authority with which to dispense advice. This article considers the role of education as both an individual and dyad characteristic in influencing parental advice and interest in the Dutch context. Using the multi-actor survey Netherlands Kinship Panel Study (N = 2,601 parent-child dyads in 1,717 families), we find that children receive advice and interest more frequently in dyads where both parent and child are highly educated. Despite these commonalities, important differences exist for mother-child and father-child relationships. While fathers give advice more frequently within highly educated father-child dyads compared with lower educated dyads, maternal advice does not depend on education level, possibly indicating that different mechanisms drive mothers’ and fathers’ advice. Findings reinforce that education is an important predictor of parental advice and interest.

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Presented in Session 33: Quality of intergenerational ties