Set-up to succeed : examining parental and peer influences on Black adolescents’ achievement related outcomes




Smith, Leann Vernice

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According to national education statistics, the achievement gap between Black students and their White and Asian counterparts persists (U.S. Department of Education, 2013a). Scholars have made countless attempts to explain what is causing this perpetual disparity; but unfortunately, many of the theoretical frameworks have been deficit-based and lack in their ability to uncover protective factors. Academic and racial socialization have both been deemed influential in the psychosocial development and academic achievement of Black youth (Allen, 2015; Hill & Tyson, 2009; Suizzo, Robinson, & Pahlke, 2008). The goal of this dissertation was to better understand the influence of academic and racial socialization messages from parents and peers on Black youth’s achievement attitudes and subsequent academic achievement. Data collected from approximately 308 adolescents who racially identified as Black were used to test three structural models of academic achievement: a racial socialization model, academic socialization model, and a combined racial and academic model. The findings suggest that both socialization practices from parents and peers influence the academic achievement of Black youth through their impact on achievement attitudes. Implications for practice, interventions, and research are provided.


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