Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Parental Involvement and Adolescents’ Educational Success: The Roles of Prior Achievement and Socioeconomic Status


Parental educational involvement in primary and secondary school is strongly linked to students’ academic success; however; less is known about the long-term effects of parental involvement. In this study, we investigated the associations between four aspects of parents’ educational involvement (i.e., home- and school-based involvement, educational expectations, academic advice) and young people’s proximal (i.e., grades) and distal academic outcomes (i.e., educational attainment). Attention was also placed on whether these relations varied as a function of family socioeconomic status or adolescents’ prior achievement. The data were drawn from 15,240 10th grade students (50 % females; 57 % White, 13 % African American, 15 % Latino, 9 % Asian American, and 6 % other race/ethnicity) participating in the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002. We observed significant links between both school-based involvement and parental educational expectations and adolescents’ cumulative high school grades and educational attainment. Moderation analyses revealed that school-based involvement seemed to be particularly beneficial for more disadvantaged youth (i.e., those from low-SES families, those with poorer prior achievement), whereas parents’ academic socialization seemed to better promote the academic success of more advantaged youth (i.e., those from high-SES families, those with higher prior achievement). These findings suggest that academic interventions and supports could be carefully targeted to better support the educational success of all young people.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1


  1. Aiken, L. S., & West, S. G. (1991). Multiple regression: Testing and interpreting interactions. Newbury Park: Sage.

  2. Anderson, K. J., & Minke, K. M. (2007). Parent involvement in education: Toward an understanding of parents’ decision making. The Journal of Educational Research, 100, 311–323. doi:10.3200/JOER.100.5.311-323.

  3. Benner, A. D. (2011). Latino adolescents’ loneliness, academic performance, and the buffering nature of friendships. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 40, 556–567. doi:10.1007/s10964-010-9561-2.

  4. Bourdieu, P. (1973). Cultural reproduction and social reproduction. In R. Brown (Ed.), Knowledge, education, and cultural change (pp. 71–112). London: Tavistock.

  5. Bronfenbrenner, U., & Morris, P. A. (2006). The bioecological model of human development. In R. M. Lerner & W. Damon (Eds.), Handbook of child psychology: Vol 1, Theoretical models of human development (6th ed., pp. 793–828). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

  6. Carolan, B. V., & Wasserman, S. J. (2015). Does parenting style matter? Concerted cultivation, educational expectations, and the transmission of educational advantage. Sociological Perspectives, 58, 168–186. doi:10.1177/0731121414562967.

  7. Cheadle, J. E., & Amato, P. R. (2011). A quantitative assessment of Lareau’s qualitative conclusions about class, race, and parenting. Journal of Family Issues, 32, 679–706. doi:10.1177/0192513X10386305.

  8. Cheung, C., & Pomerantz, E. M. (2011). Parents’ involvement in children’s learning in the United States and China: Implications for children’s academic and emotional adjustment. Child Development, 82, 932–950. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8624.2011.01582.x.

  9. Crosnoe, R., & Huston, A. C. (2007). Socioeconomic status, schooling, and the developmental trajectories of adolescents. Developmental Psychology, 43, 1097–1110. doi:10.1037/0012-1649.43.5.1097.

  10. Davis-Kean, P. E. (2005). The influence of parent education and family income on child achievement: The indirect role of parental expectations and the home environment. Journal of Family Psychology, 19, 294–304. doi:10.1037/0893-3200.19.2.294.

  11. DiMaggio, P. (1982). Cultural capital and school success: The impact of status culture participation on the grades of U.S. high school students. American Sociological Review, 47, 189–201.

  12. Dumais, S. A., Kessinger, R. J., & Ghosh, B. (2012). Concerted cultivation and teachers’ evaluations of students: Exploring the intersection of race and parents’ educational attainment. Sociological Perspectives, 55, 17–42. doi:10.1525/sop.2012.55.1.17.

  13. Elder, G. H., Jr. (1998). The life course and human development. In R. E. Lerner (Ed.), Volume 1: Theories of human development: Contemporary perspectives in William Damon (editor-in-chief), The handbook of child psychology (5th ed.), (pp. 939–991). New York: Wiley.

  14. Enders, C. K. (2010). Applied missing data analysis. New York, NY: Guilford Press.

  15. Englund, M. M., Luckner, A. E., Whaley, G. J. L., & Egeland, B. (2004). Children’s achievement in early elementary school: Longitudinal effects of parental involvement, expectations, and quality of assistance. Journal of Educational Psychology, 96, 723–730. doi:10.1037/0022-0663.96.4.723.

  16. Epstein, J. L. (1987). Parent involvement: What research says to administrators. Education and Urban Society, 19, 119–136.

  17. Everett, B. G., Rogers, R. G., Hummer, R. A., & Krueger, P. M. (2011). Trends in educational attainment by race/ethnicity, nativity, and sex in the United States, 1989–2005. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 34, 1543–1566. doi:10.1080/01419870.2010.543139.

  18. Fan, X., & Chen, M. (2001). Parental involvement and students’ academic achievement: A meta-analysis. Educational Psychology Review, 13, 1–22. doi:10.1023/A:1009048817385.

  19. Fry, R. (2013, September 24). The growing economic clout of the college educated. Retrieved July 28, 2015, from http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2013/09/24/the-growing-economic-clout-of-the-college-educated/.

  20. Green, C. L., Walker, J. M. T., Hoover-Dempsey, K. V., & Sandler, H. (2007). Parents’ motivations for involvement in children’s education: An empirical test of a theoretical model of parental involvement. Journal of Educational Psychology, 99, 532–544. doi:10.1037/0022-0663.99.3.532.

  21. Greenman, E., Bodovski, K., & Reed, K. (2011). Neighborhood characteristics, parental practices and children’s math achievement in elementary school. Social Science Research, 40, 1434–1444. doi:10.1016/j.ssresearch.2011.04.007.

  22. Gutman, L. M., & Midgley, C. (2000). The role of protective factors in supporting the academic achievement of poor African American students during the middle school transition. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 29, 223–248. doi:10.1023/A:1005108700243.

  23. Hill, N. E., Castellino, D. R., Lansford, J. E., Nowlin, P., Dodge, K. A., Bates, J. E., & Pettit, G. S. (2004). Parent academic involvement as related to school behavior, achievement, and aspirations: Demographic variations across adolescence. Child Development, 75, 1491–1509. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8624.2004.00753.x.

  24. Hill, N. E., & Taylor, L. C. (2004). Parental school involvement and children’s academic achievement: Pragmatics and issues. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 13, 161–164. doi:10.1111/j.0963-7214.2004.00298.x.

  25. Hill, N. E., & Tyson, D. F. (2009). Parental involvement in middle school: A meta-analytic assessment of the strategies that promote achievement. Developmental Psychology, 45, 740–763. doi:10.1037/a0015362.

  26. Huston, A. C., & Bentley, A. C. (2010). Human development in societal context. Annual Review of Psychology, 61, 411–437. doi:10.1146/annurev.psych.093008.100442.

  27. Ingels, S. J., Planty, M., & Bozick, R. (2005). A profile of the American High School Senior in 2004: A first look—Initial results from the first follow-up of the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 (ELS:2002) (NCES 2006–348). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics.

  28. Ingels, S. J., Pratt, D. J., Alexander, C. P., Jewell, D. M., Lauff, E., Mattox, T. L., & Wilson, D. (2014). Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 Third Follow-up Data File Documentation (NCES 2014-364). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education.

  29. Ingels, S. J., Pratt, D. J., Rogers, J. E., Siegel, P. H., & Stutts, E. S. (2004). Education Longitudinal Study of 2002: Base Year Data File User’s Manual (NCES 2004-405). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics.

  30. Institute of Medicine. (2014). Investing in the health and well-being of young adults. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

  31. Izzo, C. V., Weissberg, R. P., Kasprow, W. J., & Fendrich, M. (1999). A longitudinal assessment of teacher perceptions of parent involvement in children’s education and school performance. American Journal of Community Psychology, 27(6), 817–839. doi:10.1023/A:1022262625984.

  32. Jæger, M. M. (2011). Does cultural capital really affect academic achievement? New evidence from combined sibling and panel data. Sociology of Education, 84, 281–298. doi:10.1177/0038040711417010.

  33. Jeynes, W. H. (2003). A meta-analysis: The effects of parental involvement on minority children’s academic achievement. Education and Urban Society, 35, 202–218. doi:10.1177/0013124502239392.

  34. Jeynes, W. H. (2005). A meta-analysis of the relation of parental involvement to urban elementary school student academic achievement. Urban Education, 40, 237–269. doi:10.1177/0042085905274540.

  35. Jeynes, W. H. (2007). The relationship between parental involvement and urban secondary school student academic achievement. Urban Education, 42, 82–110. doi:10.1177/0042085906293818.

  36. Jeynes, W. H. (2012). A meta-analysis of the efficacy of different types of parental involvement programs for urban students. Urban Education, 47, 706–742. doi:10.1177/0042085912445643.

  37. Kena, G., Aud, S., Johnson, F., Wang, X., Zhang, J., Rathbun, A., et al. (2014). The condition of education 2014 (NCES 2014-083). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics.

  38. Kim, D. H., & Schneider, B. (2005). Social capital in action: Alignment of parental support in adolescents’ transition to postsecondary education. Social Forces, 84, 1181–1206.

  39. Klem, A. M., & Connell, J. P. (2004). Relationships matter: Linking teacher support to student engagement and achievement. Journal of School Health, 74, 262–273. doi:10.1111/j.1746-1561.2004.tb08283.x.

  40. Lareau, A. (2003). Unequal childhoods: Class, race and family life. Berkeley, CA: University of California.

  41. Lee, V. E., & Croninger, R. G. (1994). The relative importance of home and school in the development of literacy skills for middle-grade students. American Journal of Education, 102, 286–329. doi:10.1086/444071.

  42. McDaniel, A., DiPrete, T. A., Buchmann, C., & Shwed, U. (2011). The black gender gap in educational attainment: Historical trends and racial comparisons. Demography, 48, 889–914. doi:10.1007/s13524-011-0037-0.

  43. McLoyd, V. C. (1998). Socioeconomic disadvantage and child development. American Psychologist, 53, 185–204. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.53.2.185.

  44. Muthén, L. K., & Muthén, B. O. (1998–2012). Mplus user’s guide (7th ed.). Los Angeles, CA: Muthén & Muthén.

  45. Nakao, K., & Treas, J. (1994). Updating occupational prestige and socioeconomic scores: How the new measures measure up. Sociological Methodology, 24, 1–72. doi:10.2307/270978.

  46. OECD. (2014). PISA 2012 Results: What students know and can do—Student performance in mathematics, reading and science (Vol. I, Revised edition, February 2014), PISA, OECD Publishing. doi:10.1787/9789264201118-en.

  47. Park, S., & Holloway, S. D. (2013). No parent left behind: Predicting parental involvement in adolescents’ education within a sociodemographically diverse population. Journal of Educational Research, 106, 105–119. doi:10.1080/00220671.2012.667012.

  48. Patall, E. A., Cooper, H., & Robinson, J. C. (2008). Parent involvement in homework: A research synthesis. Review of Educational Research, 78, 1039–1101. doi:10.3102/0034654308325185.

  49. Pomerantz, E. M., & Eaton, M. M. (2001). Maternal intrusive support in the academic context: Transactional socialization processes. Developmental Psychology, 37(2), 174–186. doi:10.1037/0012-1649.37.2.174.

  50. Reardon, S. F. (2011). The widening academic-achievement gap between the rich and the poor: New evidence and possible explanations. In R. M. Murname & G. J. Duncan (Eds.), Whither opportunity: Rising inequality, schools, and children’s life changes (pp. 91–116). Washington, DC: Brookings Institute.

  51. Reynolds, J. R., & Johnson, M. K. (2011). Change in the stratification of educational expectations and their realization. Social Forces, 90, 85–109. doi:10.1093/sf/90.1.85.

  52. Robinson, K., & Harris, A. L. (2014). The broken compass: Parental involvement with children’s education. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

  53. Roksa, J., & Potter, D. (2011). Parenting and academic achievement: Intergenerational transmission of educational advantage. Sociology of Education, 84, 299–321. doi:10.1177/0038040711417013.

  54. Rothstein, R. (2004). Class and schools: Using social, economic, and educational reform to close the achievement gap. Washington, DC: Economic Policy Institute.

  55. Seginer, R. (1983). Parents’ educational expectations and children’s academic achievements: A literature review. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 29, 1–23.

  56. Seginer, R. (2006). Parents’ educational involvement: A developmental ecology perspective. Parenting: Science and Practice, 6, 1–48. doi:10.1207/s15327922par0601_1.

  57. Sirin, S. R. (2005). Socioeconomic status and academic achievement: A meta-analytic review of research. Review of Educational Research, 75, 417–453. doi:10.3102/00346543075003417.

  58. Snyder, T. D., & Dillow, S. A. (2013). Digest of education statistics 2012 (NCES 2014-015). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education.

  59. Snyder, T. D., Dillow, S. A., & Hoffman, C. M. (2008). Digest of education statistics 2007 (NCES 2008-022). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education.

  60. Somers, C. L., Owens, D., & Piliawsky, M. (2008). Individual and social factors related to urban African American adolescents’ school performance. The High School Journal, 91, 1–11. doi:10.1353/hsj.2008.0004.

  61. The White House, Office of the Press Secretary. (2013). FACT SHEET on the President’s plan to make college more affordable: A better bargain for the middle class [Press release]. Retrieved July 28, 2015, from https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/08/22/fact-sheet-president-s-plan-make-college-more-affordable-better-bargain.

  62. Wang, M., & Sheikh-Khalil, S. (2014). Does parental involvement matter for student achievement and mental health in high school? Child Development, 85, 610–625. doi:10.1111/cdev.12153.

  63. Woolley, M. E., & Grogan-Kaylor, A. (2006). Protective family factors in the context of neighborhood: Promoting positive school outcomes. Family Relations, 55, 93–104. doi:10.1111/j.1741-3729.2006.00359.x.

  64. Zhan, M., & Sherraden, M. (2011). Assets and liabilities, educational expectations, and children’s college degree attainment. Children and Youth Services Review, 33, 846–854. doi:10.1016/j.childyouth.2010.12.006.

Download references


The authors acknowledge the support of funding from the William T. Grant Foundation to Aprile Benner and from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development to the Population Research Center, University of Texas at Austin (R24 HD42849). Opinions reflect those of the authors and not necessarily those of the granting agencies.

Author Contributions

ADB conceived of and participated in the design of the study, supervised the data analysis and interpretation of the data, and drafted the manuscript. AEB performed the statistical analyses, participated in the interpretation of the data, and drafted the manuscript. SS conceived of the study and participated in its design. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Author information

Correspondence to Aprile D. Benner.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained by the NCES from all individual participants included in the study.



Parental educational involvement and control variable effects on academic outcomes

  Grades Educational attainment
β (SE) β (SE)
Home involvement −0.00 (.01) −0.02 (.01)
School involvement 0.06 (.01)*** 0.06 (.01)***
Educational expectations 0.09 (.01)*** 0.10 (.01)***
Academic advice −0.01 (.01) 0.04 (.01)***
Family SES 0.09 (.01)*** 0.19 (.01)***
Composite achievement test score 0.44 (.01)*** 0.31 (.01)***
Female 0.16 (.01)*** 0.11 (.01)***
Asian American 0.02 (.00)** 0.05 (.01)***
African American −0.14 (.01)*** −0.01 (.01)
Latino −0.09 (.01)*** −0.01 (.01)
Other race/ethnicity −0.04 (.01)*** −0.02 (.01)*
Age −0.08 (.01)*** −0.06 (.01)***
School sector −0.00 (.01) −0.04 (.01)***
Free/reduced-priced lunch 0.06 (.02)*** −0.03 (.01)**
  1. Parental involvement and covariates measured at W1 (10th grade), grades at W2 (12th grade), and educational attainment at W4 (8 years post-expected high school)
  2. p < .05; ** p < .01; *** p < .001

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Benner, A.D., Boyle, A.E. & Sadler, S. Parental Involvement and Adolescents’ Educational Success: The Roles of Prior Achievement and Socioeconomic Status. J Youth Adolescence 45, 1053–1064 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-016-0431-4

Download citation


  • Parental educational involvement
  • Academic achievement
  • Educational attainment
  • Socioeconomic status