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Few researchers have studied the effects that parental influence has on first-generation and second-generation college students. This lack of empirical knowledge prompted this investigation on the effectiveness of parental involvement on first- and second-generation college student performance.

A recent review of literature reveals that researchers have used different definitions of the "first-generation" concept (Bean&Metzner. 1985; Billson&Terry. 1982). Bean and Metzner (1985) examined the research on the correlation between parental education and the first-generation college student's persistence and reported that other researchers found equivocal results when examining this relationship. Billson and Terry (1987) argued, however, that the analysis performed by Bean and Metzner (1985) was confounded by their definition of nontraditional students (part-time or older than 24 years of age or commuter) and by their assumption that first-generation college students are commuters from blue-collar families. Billson and Terry (1982) defined first-generation college students as those whose parents have had no college or university experience. This study defines first-generation college students similarly.

Their study indicated that a tendency for parents of second-generation college students to provide a wider range of support. First generation college students perceived their parents to be emotionally, but not financially or academically supportive. In contrast second-generation college students perceived their parents to be emotionally, academically and financially supportive, and willing to assist with such tasks as homework and transportation.

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