Original Paper

Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 35, Issue 1, pp 100-108

First online:

Family Functioning and School Success in At-Risk, Inner-City Adolescents

  • Diane AnnunziataAffiliated withHudson Valley Cerebral Palsy
  • , Aaron HogueAffiliated withThe National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA), Columbia University Email author 
  • , Leyla FawAffiliated withNational Clinical Assessment Authority
  • , Howard A. LiddleAffiliated withCenter for Treatment Research on Adolescent Drug Abuse, University of Miami School of Medicine

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The relation between family functioning and school success was examined in 211 at risk, African American, inner city adolescents attending middle school (grades 6–8). Interviews with adolescents and caregivers yielded data on family cohesion, parental monitoring, and school engagement; school records provided data on grade point average. Results showed that both family cohesion and parental monitoring predicted school engagement, but neither family characteristic predicted GPA. Important gender differences also emerged. For boys only, the relation between family cohesion and school engagement was stronger when parental monitoring was high. For girls only, the effects of cohesion and monitoring on school engagement were additive: girls with both high family cohesion and high parental monitoring were most likely to be engaged in school. These findings extend the research base on family protective factors for antisocial behavior in young adolescents. Implications for future examination of family process characteristics in high-risk adolescents are discussed.


family process school success at-risk adolescents gender differences