A Prospective Longitudinal Investigation of Effects of Nonparental Social Support on Early Adolescents' Academic Achievement and Academic Outcomes
MetadataShow full item record
The present study explored the prevalence and patterns of nonparental social support and investigated the effect of such support for 363 ethnically diverse elementary and middle school students. Using a prospective design, the study examined the effect of the availability of significant nonparental adult support as well as the effect of learning and affective support on students' academic achievement (reading and math) and academic outcomes (academic competence beliefs, classroom engagement, and school belonging), controlling for the baseline levels of functioning, cognitive ability, and demographic variables. The main and interactive effects of sex, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status were also examined. Furthermore, the study investigated the moderating effect of middle school transition on the relationship between the support variables and outcomes. A large majority of young adolescents in the current study reported having a significant nonparental adult or natural mentor. There was no racial or ethnic difference in the availability of natural mentors. A sex difference was found, with more female students reporting having such an adult. Extended family members were most frequently nominated as natural mentors by all students, but there was a statistically significant ethnic difference with more Hispanic and African American youths nominating extended family members than Caucasian students. Furthermore, 35% of natural adult mentors named by youth were employed in helping professions, more than in any other employment category, and nearly half of these adults were teachers. The availability of natural mentors had statistically significant and positive effects on female students' math achievement and both male and female students' reading achievement. The provision of learning and affective support from these adults exhibited additive effects on students' teacher-reported classroom engagement and interactive effects on student-reported academic competence beliefs and school belonging. These findings were often qualified by sex and in some instances ethnicity. Furthermore, there was some support for the moderating effect of middle school transition; however, the effect was in a negative direction for students who had recently transitioned to middle school. Study limitations and implications for formal mentoring programs, extracurricular activities, teacher training and educational policy are also discussed.
Allen, Chiharu S. (2009). A Prospective Longitudinal Investigation of Effects of Nonparental Social Support on Early Adolescents' Academic Achievement and Academic Outcomes. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from