Exploring Parental Factors, Adjustment, and
Academic Achievement Among White and Hispanic College Students
Ani Yazedjian Michelle L. Toews Alice Navarro
The purpose of this study was to examine whether college adjustment mediated the relationship between parental factors, such as parental attachment, parental education, and parental expectations, and academic achievement among White and Hispanic first-year college students. We found that adjustment mediated the relationship between parental factors—quality of the parental relationship and parental education—and GPA for White students. However, none of the parental factors explained GPA for Hispanic students. These findings support ...view middle of the document...
This study was supported by a Research Enhancement Grant awarded by Texas State University. We would like to thank Joseph Meyer from the Office of Institutional Research for developing and administering our online survey. |
In addition, as today’s post-secondary institutions are becoming more ethnically diverse (Livingston & Wirt, 2005; Seidman, 2005), greater attention needs to be paid to the unique needs of the growing population of Hispanic students (Brown, Santiago, & Lopez, 2003). This is particularly important given the fact that a disparity exists between White and Hispanic students’ participation in higher education (Llagas & Snyder, 2003). Specifically, Hispanic students are less likely to attend and to complete college compared to their White counterparts (Fry, 2005). As a result, just over 10% of all Hispanics in the United States now possess a college degree, a figure that is lower than the national average of 28% for all adults over the age of 25 (Brown et al.; Loza, 2003; Rosas & Hamrick, 2002; U.S. Census Bureau, 2008). Given this disparity in the educational attainment of White and Hispanic students, previous researchers have suggested considering the influence of interpersonal factors, such as family factors, on college adjustment and achievement (Kalsner & Pistole, 2003; Torres, 2004). Such a consideration is particularly relevant for Hispanic students because, unlike Western cultures that stress the importance of independence, Hispanic cultures place a strong emphasis on the continued identification with and attachment to family members into adulthood (Hernandez & Lopez, 2004-2005; Marín, 1993). Moreover, it is important to examine the role of parents in facilitating college adjustment and achievement because the transition to college is occurring at a time when young adults are continuing their search for autonomy and independence (Zarrett & Eccles, 2006). At the same time first-year students are striving to develop and reconfigure their relationships in ways that support their increasing need for autonomy, they also maintain the need for support and connection (Gottlieb, Still, & Newby-Clark, 2007). One important relationship that will be renegotiated is students’ relationships with their parents. Although college is often seen as a time for adolescents to become independent from their parents, research has found that parents continue to provide support for their college-aged children (Mounts, Valentiner, Anderson, & Boswell, 2006). However, research examining the influence of parents on college adjustment and achievement is limited, particularly for Hispanic students, and the findings have been inconsistent.
Because of the limited research examining the influence of parents on college adjustment and achievement, we were interested in assessing how parental attachment, parental education, and parental expectations influenced college adjustment and grade point average...