Individual and Contextual Predictors of Middle School Youth’s Academic Outcomes

Restricted (Penn State Only)
Bhargava, Sakshi
Graduate Program:
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
July 09, 2017
Committee Members:
  • Dawn Paula Witherspoon, Dissertation Advisor
  • Dawn Paula Witherspoon, Committee Chair
  • Jenae Marie Neiderhiser, Committee Member
  • Sandra T Azar, Committee Member
  • Mayra Y Bamaca, Outside Member
  • home-based involvement
  • school-based involvement
  • academic socialization
  • neighborhood structure
  • social dynamics
  • behavioral engagement
  • emotional engagement
  • academic performance
Taking an integrative approach, the current study examined the association of early exposure to neighborhood risk, perceptions of neighborhood social processes, and parental involvement in education with adolescents’ later school engagement and academic performance. African American and Latino (55%) youth participated (N = 493; 53% female; age range (wave 1): 10 – 14 years). Inconsistent with previous findings, parental involvement strategies were not directly related to youth’s academic performance; however, home-based involvement and academic socialization were indirectly related to performance via behavioral engagement. Similarly, neighborhood disadvantage and cohesion and trust were indirectly related to academic performance via behavioral and emotional engagement, respectively. Our findings suggest that adolescents’ behavioral and emotional school engagement play a significant role in shaping their academic performance, and highlight parental involvement and neighborhood structure and social processes as important determinants of youth’s academic outcomes.