Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 47, Issue 8, pp 1580–1594 | Cite as

Parental Support and Youth Occupational Attainment: Help or Hindrance?

  • Anna ManzoniEmail author
Empirical Research


Although several concerns surround the transition to adulthood and youth increasingly rely on parental support, our knowledge about the implications of parental support for youth development and transition to adulthood is limited. This study fills this gap by conceptualizing development within a life course perspective that links social inequality and early life course transitions. It draws on a subsample of youth observed between age 18 and 28 from the Transition to Adulthood supplement of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics 2005–2015 (N = 7,542; 53% female, 51.3% white). Mixed-effects models reveal that the more direct financial transfers youth receive, the higher their occupational status. Yet, indirect financial support parents offer through co-residence shows the opposite pattern. Among youth receiving monetary transfers, college graduates have particularly high occupational status; however, among youth living with their parents, college graduates have the lowest occupational status. Although different types of parental support may equally act as safety nets, their divergent implications for youths’ occupational attainment raise concerns about the reproduction and possible intensification of inequality during this developmental stage.


Parental support Youth development Occupational attainment Transition to adulthood Social inequality 



The author thanks participants to the Center for Social Inequality Studies Brownbag series at the University of Trento, as well as Sergi Vidal and Toby Parcel for comments on earlier drafts of this paper.


The collection of data used in this study was partly supported by the National Institutes of Health under grant number R01 HD069609 and the National Science Foundation under award number 1157698. No support for this specific research was received by the author.

Data Sharing Declaration

The datasets generated and/or analyzed during the current study are available in the Open ICPSR repository,

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The author declare that she has no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

The author certifies compliance with the Committee on Publications Ethics listed on the Journal of Youth and Adolescence website. This manuscript has not been published and is not under consideration with any other publication.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.North Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA

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