Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2017

Journal Title

Journal of The First-Year Experience & Students in Transition






This study explored the effects of parents' and students' communication patterns on students' social, emotional, and academic adjustment to college. It matched 118 pairs of parents and students (n = 236) and asked them to report their frequency and mode of communication, as well as the first-year students' perceived adjustment to college. The results indicate that on average, parents and students communicate weekly, most often through text messaging. Parents tend to overestimate how well their student has adjusted to college, and asynchronous methods of communication such as texting or e-mail are more frequently positively associated with students' self-reported emotional and social adjustment, whereas real-time communication methods such as phone calls, video chats (Skype), and in-person visits are negatively associated with students' self-reported academic and social adjustment. Models of parent-reported student adjustment indicate that parents perceive their communication efforts as more instrumental to student adjustment than do students.