Date of Award

January 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Human Development and Family Studies

First Advisor

Aryn M Dotterer

Committee Member 1

Sharon L Christ

Committee Member 2

Shawn D Whiteman

Committee Member 3

Helen Patrick


Guided by the developmental theory of emerging adulthood (Arnett, 2004) and life course theory (Elder, 1984), the goals of the current study were to investigate changes in parent involvement, changes in student outcomes, and links between changes in involvement and student outcomes across the first year in college. Parental involvement was defined as a multidimensional construct that included parent support, contact, and academic engagement. Purdue University domestic freshmen (N = 1279; 55% female; 84% Caucasian) participated in this study that included four online surveys that were evenly distributed across the first year. Through this design and the use of latent growth curve modeling (LGM) in Mplus (Muthén & Muthén, 2010), the current study estimated trajectories (intercepts, linear slopes, and quadratic slopes) of parent involvement, student outcomes, and their joint associations. Fixed and random effects were examined to determine intraindividual and interindividual change. Joint association models involved regressing the student outcome slopes onto the involvement slopes. Covariates were included (e.g., student sex), and fit indices were assessed to evaluate models (e.g., Confirmatory Fit Index). Overall results supported hypotheses, and indicated nonlinear declines in parent involvement, changes in student outcomes (exceptions: academic persistence and depression), and links between changes in involvement and student outcomes. Notable findings from joint models indicated increases in involvement were related to increases in depression, steeper increases in risky behaviors, and steeper decreases in individuation across freshman year. Findings contribute to literature on the characteristics of involvement during emerging adulthood and within the context of college, especially how changes in involvement are linked to changes in student outcomes, and offer practical guidance for college parent programming.