Academic adjustment across middle school: The role of public regard and parenting

Rebecca Kang McGill, Diane Hughes, Stacey Alicea, Niobe Way

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

In the current longitudinal study, we examined associations between Black and Latinoyouths' perceptions of the public's opinion of their racial/ethnic group (i.e., public regard) and changes in academic adjustment outcomes across middle school. We also tested combinations of racial/ethnic socialization and parent involvement in academic activities as moderators of this association. We used a 2nd-order latent trajectory model to test changes in academic adjustment outcomes in a sample of 345 Black and Latino urban youth across 6th, 7th, and 8th grades (51% female). Results revealed a significant average linear decline in academic adjustment from 6th to 8th grade, as well as significant variation around this decline. We found that parenting moderated the association between public regardand the latent trajectory of academic adjustment. Specifically, for youth who reported high racial/ethnic socialization and low parent academic involvement, lower public regard predicted lower academic adjustment in 6th grade. For youth who reported both low racial/ethnic socialization and low parent academic involvement, lower public regard predicted a steeper decline in academic adjustment over time. Finally, among youth who reported high racial/ethnic socialization and high parent academic involvement, public regard was not associated with either the intercept or the slope of academic adjustment. Thus, the combination of high racial/ethnic socialization and parent academic involvement may protect youths' academic motivation and performance from the negative effects of believing the public has low opinions of one's racial/ethnic group. Implications for protecting Black and Latino youths' academic outcomes from decline during middle school are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1003-1018
Number of pages16
JournalDevelopmental psychology
Volume48
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2012

Keywords

  • Academic involvement
  • Ethnic minority
  • Middle school
  • Racial/ethnic socialization
  • Trajectories

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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