Study

Chandler residents, from left, Sripriya Srinivas, Suryatej Vakkalanka and Ruhika Nallani recently completed research into the effect of parents’ expectations on their children’s mental well-being and career choices. (Special to the Arizonan) 

Three Chandler students recently completed a lengthy study on the impact of parents’ expectations on their children’s career choices and mental well-being and concluded that the pressure is more intense than in previous generations

“Overall, it is safe to say that parents’ expectations now are definitely higher than they were 30 years ago, and this has a great effect on children’s career choice (gravitating more to what the parents expect from their career), as well as a negative impact on their mental wellbeing,” concluded the study by Sripriya Srinivas, Suryatej Vakkalanka and Ruhika Nallani.

As the results find, over the last 30 years, parents raised their expectations/specifications on what career field their children should go into, and this has caused problems with the children’s mental wellbeing as well as deviances from what their career choice would have originally been if they chose it based purely on what they are interested in/good at,” they found.

Those conclusions were based on a survey of about 121 teens and adults who volunteered for interviews.

The three students set out to analyze “the effects of parents’ expectations on children’s choice of career by discussing how parent support, career field, choice in extracurriculars for their children, and other factors affect children’s choice in career.”

While acknowledging that “parents can make a big impact on children, starting from a young age,” they wanted to quantify that impact in more scientific terms.

“The survey provided a deep understanding of the participants’ perceptions on the basis of their parents’ expectations,” the trio said.

They had divided the respondents into people above and below 18 years of age.

The trio concluded, “While the 18+ generation wasn’t influenced much by their parents, the below 18 generation is being influenced by parents’ expectations to go into a particular field.”

And they found a corresponding difference between the two groups in the state of their mental health.

“While the 18+ generation overwhelmingly had no negative mental health effects because of parents’ expectations, the below 18 generation has a higher ratio of teens feeling anxiety, pressured, and stressed out compared to the older generation,” they said. “This is an indication of parents’ expectations causing mental health issues for the younger generation.”

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