People Who Were Better Supervised by Parents as Early Adolescents Tend to Have Higher Earnings as Adults

The following is excerpted from an online article posted by StudyFinds.

A longitudinal study of children in North Carolina found that better parental supervision of children in early adolescence was associated with higher household income of the child at age 35. Children of parents who did not engage in adequate supervision earned approximately $14,000 less per year compared to those who did. The study was published in PLOS One.

It is well known that children’s opportunities in adulthood are associated with the characteristics of their family of origin. Researchers consider the socioeconomic status of a family as one of the most important determinants of a child’s future prospects.

Study author Ellen W. McGinnis and her colleagues wanted to know whether parental supervision and education contribute to improved economic prospects of children after controlling for the socioeconomic status of the family. They note that during middle and high school, kids often lose interest in school and other important things. Because of this, better parental supervision during that period of childhood has been linked to a decreased risk of delinquency, better academic achievements, and other desirable outcomes.

This study analyzed data from the Great Smoky Mountain study, a longitudinal study of children in 11 predominantly rural counties of North Carolina. Participants were three groups of children who were aged 9, 11, and 13 at the start of the study. A total of 1,420 children participated. They completed assessments each year until they reached the age of 16. This was between 1993 and 2000. Children were assessed again when they reached their 30s, between 2018 and 2021.

Here’s what the researchers found: Back when the study began, 25% of parents were single, about 30% had gone to college, and the family’s income was about $56,491 in today’s money. Most parents provided adequate supervision and the average number of behavioral symptoms was low. By the time these kids grew up to be adults in 2021, their average income was $60,250.

“Having adequate parental supervision during adolescence in the late 1990s resulted in a lifetime income difference of ~$219,870 (confidence interval: $172,290 to $261,180) between ages 35–65 (without pay increases). This lifetime income difference is equivalent to ~1–2 extra years of parent education, or an additional $10,000 in annual parental household income. Our results may suggest positive cascade effects of parental supervision beyond adolescence and on income two decades later, subsequently influencing the child’s social mobility,” the study authors concluded.

Source: PsyPost

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[reposted by] Jim Liebelt

Jim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for HomeWord. Jim has 40 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, having served over the years as a pastor, author, consultant, mentor, trainer, college instructor, and speaker. Jim’s HomeWord culture blog also appears on and Jim and his wife Jenny live in Quincy, MA.

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