College of Psychology: Faculty Articles

Title

Former Latchkey Children: Personality and Academic Correlates

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1989

Publication Title

Journal of Genetic Psychology

ISSN

0022-1325

Volume

150

Issue/No.

3

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the prevalence and correlates (demographic, personality, and academic) of former latchkey status (children unsupervised by an adult after school during their elementary or middle school years) in a college student sample (N = 188). A clear operational definition of latchkey status was provided. Students were surveyed and administered a personality questionnaire, and their academic aptitude test scores were verified through university records. Twenty-five percent of the male and 14% of the female participants were identified as former latchkey children, resulting in an 18% latchkey prevalence rate. The mean age of onset of latchkey status was 8.7 years for the male and 10.0 years for the female subjects. Having been a latchkey child was positively associated with being male and Caucasian, coming from a one-parent family, and having had a mother who worked outside the home. Multivariate analyses of the personality and academic measures revealed no significant between-group differences.

DOI

10.1080/00221325.1989.9914599

Peer Reviewed

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