Quantitative Effect of Family Structure on Collegiate Educational Attainment: Millennials, Generation Xers, Baby Boomers

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Florida Southern College
Low educational attainment of four-year college degrees in America is a concern attributed to specific factors such as the ratio of family size to family income, driven by a dilution of resources. Also having a negative effect on educational attainment are nontraditional family structures such as single, divorced, separated, same-sex, cohabiting, or remarried parents, which likewise links to the resource dilution theory. The purpose of this quantitative study was to test if family structure effected educational attainment across generations of students and link results to the resource dilution theory through a cross-sectional anonymous survey. This study focused on the changed definition of family structure over time in America and how this has affected educational attainment by surveying participants from the Millennial, Generation X, and Baby Boomer generations on their educational background and demographic characteristics. Participants (n = 209) were employees at a government agency located in Polk County, Florida, as this county had statistically low educational attainment than the nation and the state of Florida. The overall relationship between family structure and educational attainment was statistically analyzed by comparing results from each generation of participants through the use of logistic regression, chi-square of independence, and one-way between-groups analysis of variance (ANOVA). The results indicated that family size, family income, and family structure were not predictive of educational attainment, and that the greatest predictor, although not statistically significant, was racial/ethnic group. Additionally, data also did not find statistical significance between educational attainment and family structure on a generational level. Lastly, the results indicated statistical significance between the acceptance rates of family structures for Millennials and Baby Boomers, finding that Millennials were more accepting of nontraditional family structures. These findings suggest that racial/ethnic group is the greatest predictor of educational attainment and that the acceptance of family structures varies by generation. Future research should continue to pursue generational studies on the effect of family structure, in order to inform higher education institutions, high school counselors, and families about predictive barriers to educational attainment.
Dissertation presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Education in the School of Education at Florida Southern College.
Resource dilution theory, Family income, Educational attainment, Family structure, Generations, Individual & family studies
Franson, L. T. (2021). Quantitative Effect of Family Structure on Collegiate Educational Attainment: Millennials, Generation Xers, Baby Boomers (Order No. 28418694). Available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global: The Humanities and Social Sciences Collection. (2531519193). https://www.proquest.com/dissertations-theses/quantitative-effect-family-structure-on/docview/2531519193/se-2