Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 47, Issue 8, pp 1559–1579 | Cite as

Intergenerational Transmission of Work Values: A Meta-Analytic Review

  • Zeynep CemalcilarEmail author
  • Ekin Secinti
  • Nebi Sumer
Empirical Research


Work values act as guiding principles for individuals’ work-related behavior. Economic self-sufficiency is an important predictor for psychological well-being in adulthood. Longitudinal research has demonstrated work values to be an important predictor of economic behavior, and consequently of self-sufficiency. Socialization theories designate parents an important role in the socialization of their children to cultural values. Yet, extant literature is limited in demonstrating the role families play on how youth develop agentic pathways and seek self-sufficiency in transition to adulthood. This study presents a meta-analytic review investigating the intergenerational transmission of work values, which is frequently assessed in terms of parent–child value similarities. Thirty studies from 11 countries (N = 19,987; Median child age = 18.15) were included in the analyses. The results revealed a significant effect of parents on their children’s work values. Both mothers’ and fathers’ work values, and their parenting behavior were significantly associated with their children’s work values. Yet, similarity of father–child work values decreased as child age increased. Our findings suggest a moderate effect, suggesting the influence of general socio-cultural context, such as generational differences and peer influences, in addition to those of parents on youth’s value acquisition. Our systematic review also revealed that, despite its theoretical and practical importance, social science literature is scarce in comprehensive and comparative empirical studies that investigate parent–child work value similarity. We discuss the implications of our findings for labor market and policy makers.


Intergenerational transmission of values Work values Meta-analysis Parent-child work value similarity Parenting 


Authors' Contributions

Z.C. conceived of the study, participated in interpretation of the results and drafted the manuscript; E.S. conducted the meta-analyses and participated in the write-up of the results; N.S. participated in design of the meta-analyses and helped to draft the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.


The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Union Seventh Framework Program under grant agreement no. 613257–CUPESSE (Cultural Pathways to Economic Self-Sufficiency and Entrepreneurship).

Data Sharing Declaration

The study used data that have been already published in articles included in the review. Dataset generated for the meta-analyses and the R codes are available from the second author upon request. Please email

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

We hereby declare that we complied with all ethical standards in conducting the research. No individual data from human subjects were collected in the analyses conducted in this meta-analytic review.

Supplementary material

10964_2018_858_MOESM1_ESM.docx (550 kb)
Supplementary Information


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Koc UniversityIstanbulTurkey
  2. 2.Indiana University-Purdue University IndianapolisIndianapolisUSA
  3. 3.Middle East Technical UniversityAnkaraTurkey

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