1 Citation (Scopus)


Background: Socioeconomic background has traditionally been the most important determinant of an individual’s social advantage. Studies have used social class and opportunities based on parental income and education to predict such advantage. There is limited evidence that stratification mechanisms other than socioeconomic background can play an important role. The purpose of the study is to examine the influence of the traditional factors (income and education) of family background on students’ social attachment styles compared to other background variables (civil status and number of children). Methods: We used the Vulnerable Attachment Style Questionnaire as an outcome measure to assess students’ social attachment advantage. As a point of departure, we use theories of social psychology to categorize social relations in terms of secure or insecure bonding, respectively. Results: A cross-sectional data set of 912 university students from five European countries was used. With respect to social attachment, the likelihood of being a student with robust relations increases by 23% if the students have high-income parents. Students with robust relations also have a decreased likelihood of poor body self-esteem by 19% when compared with other students. Conclusions: Stratification mechanisms other than social class, such as parental characteristics, civil status, and number of siblings, all affect the privileged students’ social relations.
Original languageEnglish
Article number5135
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number10
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 12 May 2021


  • Family
  • Social attachment
  • Students
  • Universities


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