, Volume 35, Issue 1, pp 100-108
Date: 18 Mar 2006

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

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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.

This work is based on the dissertation research of the first author submitted to the Department of Psychology at Fordham University.
Research Associate, Hudson Valley Cerebral Palsy, Patterson, NY. Professional Training: PhD, Developmental Psychology, Fordham University. Major interests include etiology and treatment research on developmental disabilities and psychological health problems in children and adolescents.
Senior Research Associate, The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University, New York, NY. Professional Training: PhD, Clinical Psychology, Temple University. Major interests include development of family-based interventions for adolescent drug use and delinquency, adherence and process research on family intervention models.
Research Associate, National Clinical Assessment Authority, London, England. Professional Training: PhD, Developmental Psychology, Fordham University. Major interests include mental health services research and program evaluation.
Professor and Director, Center for Treatment Research on Adolescent Drug Abuse, University of Miami School of Medicine, Miami, FL. Professional Training: EdD, Counseling Psychology and Family Therapy, Northern Illinois University. Major interests include developing, testing, and disseminating family-based treatment for adolescent substance abuse and related behvioral problems.