Group-based parent involvement trajectories and change in student engagement across two school transitions among immigrant and non-immigrant youth

Naila A Smith, Fordham University

Abstract

Youth transitioning to middle and high school experience steep declines in their engagement in school. These declines are particularly severe for racial-ethnic minority and immigrant youth and likely contribute to underachievement and school dropout in these groups. School transitions are inherently disruptive. However, educationally involved parents might help stabilize transitioning youth but could also exacerbate declines in engagement. This study explored: (1) distinct classes of parent home and school involvement trajectories across the middle and high school transitions; and examined (2) how parent involvement trajectories were associated with changes in behavioral and emotional engagement across the middle and high school transitions; and (3) if the associations between involvement and engagement differed for first and second generation immigrant compared to non-immigrant youth. This study used data from a longitudinal, school-randomized evaluation study of the Reading, Writing, Respect and Resolution (4Rs) program. Youth (n= 610) reported on their behavioral and emotional engagement, and parents reported on their home and school involvement three times: when youth were in elementary (5th grade), middle (7th/8th grade), and high (9th/10th grade) school. All measures were invariant across time. GMM identified two home involvement trajectories —High-Declining and Mid-Declining—and two school involvement trajectories—Low-Stable and Low-Declining. Most parents were in the Mid-Declining home and the Low-Declining school involvement trajectories. Latent growth curve modeling showed the typical declines in behavioral and emotional engagement across school transitions. Furthermore, youth whose parents demonstrated low-stable school involvement had steeper declines in behavioral engagement over time than youth whose parents demonstrated low-declining school involvement, after controlling for child gender, race/ethnicity, immigrant generation and perceptions of teacher support, and parent educational status. Nevertheless, there was a moderation effect for immigrant generation status. Second generation immigrant youth, whose parents demonstrated low but stable school involvement across transitions, had steeper declines in behavioral engagement than non-immigrant youth. This effect was over and above the effects of covariates and main effects of parent involvement trajectories. Findings suggest parents vary their involvement in distinct ways, and second generation immigrant youth might be especially susceptible to low levels of school involvement. These findings have implications for family-school partnerships. ^

Subject Area

Developmental psychology

Recommended Citation

Smith, Naila A, "Group-based parent involvement trajectories and change in student engagement across two school transitions among immigrant and non-immigrant youth" (2016). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI10182770.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI10182770

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