Family influences on school success in African American inner-city early adolescents

Diane DeNise Annunziata, Fordham University


This study was designed to examine relations between parental school involvement, family processes, and parenting practices as these affect the school engagement and school performance of at-risk, inner city, early adolescents. A group of middle school students and their families, who were screened as being at developmental risk, completed measures as part of a larger preventive intervention study. Self-report measures were used to assess parent and adolescent views of family processes (family cohesion) and parenting practices (parental monitoring). Parents also completed a rating of their own involvement in their child's schooling. Grade point average was obtained from school records. Family cohesion and parental monitoring were measured using multi-rater instruments that were normed on at-risk, inner city families. Factor analysis revealed three dimensions of parental school involvement were operating in the sample. Parental monitoring moderated family cohesion in predicting boys' school engagement. In boys family cohesion was only predictive of better school engagement in the context of effective parental monitoring. Both family cohesion and parental monitoring were uniquely predictive of girls' school engagement. Parental school involvement did not mediate the effects of family variables on school success. Discussion focuses on gender differences in parental monitoring, measurement issues stemming from the use of instruments not validated within the target community, and ways of supporting and encouraging school involvement among inner-city African American families.

Subject Area

Developmental psychology|Educational psychology|Black studies|Individual & family studies|African American Studies

Recommended Citation

DeNise Annunziata, Diane, "Family influences on school success in African American inner-city early adolescents" (2002). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3037208.