Title page for ETD etd-04062006-073354

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Nebel-Schwalm, Marie S.
Author's Email Address mariesns@lsu.edu
URN etd-04062006-073354
Title The Relationship between Parent-Adolescent Conflict and Academic Achievement
Degree Master of Arts (M.A.)
Department Psychology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Mary Lou Kelley Committee Chair
George Noell Committee Member
Thompson Davis, III Committee Member
Wm. Drew Gouvier Committee Member
  • parent-child relationship
  • conflict
  • academic achievement
  • adolescence
  • intelligence
  • homework
  • SES
Date of Defense 2006-01-10
Availability unrestricted
Previous research has shown family conflict to have a detrimental effect on the academic functioning of children and adolescents. Most research conceptualizes family conflict as marital distress or divorce. Additional factors that have been shown to effect academic functioning include cognitive ability (i.e., intelligence), academic skills (e.g., homework behaviors), and amount of resources (i.e., socioeconomic status, SES). The present study investigated whether parent-adolescent conflict is related to adolescent academic achievement after accounting for cognitive ability and homework behaviors. Participants include 74 middle school students attending public school in a low-SES urban environment.

Prior to conducting analyses, parent and adolescent reports of conflict were examined to determine whether one rater was more significantly correlated with academic achievement than the other. However, neither parent nor adolescent reports of conflict were significantly correlated with academic achievement, therefore, the average combined scores of parent and adolescent reports of conflict were used.

Multiple heirarchical regression revealed that parent-adolescent conflict did not explain significantly more variance after accounting for cognitive ability and homework behaviors. The remaining analysis tested whether parent-adolescent conflict moderated the relationship between homework behaviors and academic achievement. This analysis revealed statistically significant results: the interaction between parent-adolescent conflict and homework behaviors explained an additional 4% of the variance. The direction of the interactionís effect was surprising, however. Adolescents with neither high levels of homework problems nor high levels of parent-adolescent conflict performed the best. However, adolescents with high levels of reported homework problems and high levels of parent-adolescent conflict performed better on a measure of academic achievement than adolescents who only had one such difficulty. Possible reasons for such a finding are discussed.

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