Electronic Theses and Dissertations for Graduate School
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Individual and Contextual Predictors of Middle School Youth’s Academic Outcomes
Restricted (Penn State Only)
Doctor of Philosophy
Date of Defense:
July 09, 2017
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
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.
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