Effects of Parent Expectations and Parent Involvement on Postschool Outcomes for Deaf Individuals

How parents communicate their expectations to their children plays a critical role in long-term outcomes for students. This study explored how parental involvement and expectations affect transition outcomes for deaf students. Using data from the National Longitudinal Transition Study 2 (NLTS2), the authors assessed whether parent involvement in school and parent expectations about their child’s future predicted outcomes in life, employment, and education. Results of the analysis showed that parental expectations were an important contributor to long-term outcomes but that parental involvement was not. More specifically, the parent expectation that their child would live independently resulted in a greater likelihood that the child would both get a job and live independently. Deaf children whose parents held the expectation that they would be employed after high school were more likely to enroll in college, and children whose parents expected them to attend college were more likely to complete college. In each case, young deaf adults exceeded their parents’ expectations. This article has implications for parents of deaf students and professionals involved in the transition planning process, specifically regarding the importance of parent expectations for positive postsecondary outcomes.

Link to Full Publication

Summary of Cawthon et al., “Effects of Parent Expectations and Parent Involvement on Postschool Outcomes for Individuals Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing”¹

Why was this work done?

  • Parents play a critical role in their child’s development through high school and the transition to postsecondary school and work settings.
  • How parents communicate their expectations to their children also plays an important role in long-term outcomes for students.
  • Few studies look at how parental role and expectations affect transition for deaf students.

“[Deaf] people often exceed their parents’ expectations of positive postsecondary outcomes.”

How was this work done? 

  • Researchers used data from the National Longitudinal Transition Study 2 (NLTS2).
  • Statistical analyses assessed whether parent involvement in school and expectations for their child’s future predicted outcomes in life, employment, and education. Specific outcomes included the following:
    • Life – Living independently and having self-beliefs
    • Employment – Having a job, earning an hourly wage, and enjoying job satisfaction
    • Education – Enrolling in and completing any postsecondary program

What did researchers find?

Parental expectations emerged as an important contributor to long-term outcomes, but parental involvement did not.

  • A parent’s expectation of their child to live independently increased the likelihood that their child would get a job and live independently after high school.
  • A parent’s expectation of their child to be employed increased the likelihood that their child would enroll in college.
  • A parent’s expectation of their child to attend college increased the likelihood that their child would complete college.

What are important next steps?

  • How do parents effectively communicate their expectations to their deaf children?
  • How do schools help deaf people build on their parent’s expectations and reach even higher levels of success?

¹Cawthon, S., Garberoglio, C. L., Caemmerer, J., Bond, M., & Wendel, E. (2015). Effects of parent expectations and parent involvement on postschool outcomes for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Exceptionality, 23(2). doi:10.1080/09362835.2013.865537

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