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College student development: Self-authoring in an era of increased parental involvement

Winters, Dana (2016) College student development: Self-authoring in an era of increased parental involvement. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Parent involvement in the lives of college students is not new. However, the increasing interaction between parents and college students over the last 15-20 years is unprecedented. The evolving styles of hands-on parenting, opportunities for constant communication between students and parents, and changing relationship between the parent and institution are examples of how the role of the parent in higher education is very different now than it has been historically (Brooks, 2001; Howe & Strauss, 2000, 2003; Levine & Dean, 2012; Trice, 2002; Wartman & Savage, 2008). As conventional student development theory suggests, students must separate and individuate from parents in order to develop into independent adults (Chickering & Reisser, 1993). Separating from parents provides opportunities for students to make decisions independently, which is necessary for students to progress toward self-authorship, a holistic form of development characterized by the formation of informal meaning making structures (Baxter Magolda, 2001). Therefore, moments of challenge that promote the development of internal structures of meaning making must be realized in order for students to develop. However, as parental involvement increases for college students, scholars question if developmental moments where students can independently solve problems are less likely to occur (Pizzolato & Hicklen, 2011).
My study addressed this gap in knowledge through two substantive theories that explicate the role of parents in college student development and decision making, in an effort to extend Baxter Magolda’s (1998) theory of self-authorship. My work suggests that the role of others is central to the decision making processes of college students, and that ultimately, parents have the ability to support and impede the development of the independent self. Through their responses to students’ assertions of self, parents and students engage in a cycle of response and counter response that leads to an outcome on the development of the independent self. This work has implications for the future of college student development theory as it takes into account how parents play an active role in student development, as well as implications for how practitioners engage with parents and students in efforts to create developmentally appropriate involvement.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Winters, Danadmw67@pitt.eduDMW670000-0002-2629-5658
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairDeAngelo, Lindadeangelo@pitt.eduDEANGELO
Committee MemberGunzenhauser, Michaelmgunzen@pitt.eduMGUNZEN
Committee MemberGarcia, Ginaggarcia@pitt.eduGGARCIA
Committee MemberCopeland, Valiresswvcc@pitt.eduSSWVCC
Date: 29 April 2016
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 25 April 2016
Approval Date: 29 April 2016
Submission Date: 28 April 2016
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 247
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Administrative and Policy Studies
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: College student development theory, parental involvement in higher education
Date Deposited: 29 Apr 2016 17:29
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:33


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