The Effects of Parent Attachment and Parenting Styles on Decision-Making in College Students [Susquehanna University]


  • Jenna Nicole Wasarhelyi Susquehanna University
  • Benjamin John Susquehanna University
  • Bryce Long Susquehanna University
  • Gretchen S. Lovas Susquehanna University
Keywords: Attachment, Parenting Styles, Decision-Making, College Students

Abstract


College students face many decisions that can shape the course of their future lives.  Individual differences in decision-making styles affect the quality of students’ choices. The impact of personality on decision-making is well researched; little research explores the impact of parent attachment and parenting styles. Attachment with parents provides a sense of basic security or insecurity; parenting style impacts the child’s sense of autonomy and confidence. We explored the effects of parent attachment, parenting styles, and two personality variables on decision-making in college students. We hypothesized that low levels of attachment anxiety and avoidance, and high levels of authoritative parenting, conscientiousness, and impulse control, would predict positive decision-making styles. Students (N = 80) at a small liberal arts university completed a survey that measured parent attachment (anxiety, avoidance; Fraley, et al. 2011), parenting styles (authoritative, authoritarian, permissive; Buri 1991), conscientiousness and impulse control (Goldberg, 1999), and decision-making (avoidant, dependent, intuitive, rational, spontaneous; Scott & Bruce, 1995).  Preliminary analyses explored the impacts of age and gender. Primary analyses consisted of stepwise regressions on decision-making styles. Age had no effects; there were student and parent gender differences. As expected, conscientiousness and impulse control predicted more positive and less negative decision-making, avoidance toward the father less positive and more negative decision-making, avoidance toward the mother more negative decision-making, and authoritarian mothering more negative decision-making. Unexpectedly, authoritative mothering predicted less positive and more negative decision-making and authoritarian fathering more positive decision-making.  Our results suggest that parent attachment and parenting styles do influence decision-making styles. Our regressions explained 23%-36% of the variance for four of the five decision-making styles. Limitations of our study included a small sample and limited personality variables.  We believe the impact of parent attachment and parenting styles on decision-making warrants further exploration with a larger sample and widened range of variables.

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Author Biographies

Jenna Nicole Wasarhelyi, Susquehanna University
I am a senior psychology student from Susquehanna University. I am attending the University of Pittsburgh this Fall 2019 to begin earning my Masters in Social Work.
Benjamin John, Susquehanna University
Student
Gretchen S. Lovas, Susquehanna University
Faculty
Published
04-20-2019

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How to Cite
Wasarhelyi, J. N., John, B., Long, B., & Lovas, G. S. (2019). The Effects of Parent Attachment and Parenting Styles on Decision-Making in College Students [Susquehanna University]. Journal of Student Research. Retrieved from https://jofsr.org/index.php/path/article/view/639