Maternal SES, Parental Child-Rearing Approaches and Children’s Achievement

Erin M. Powell, Pennsylvania State University
Duane Alwin, Pennsylvania State University

There is a great deal of agreement among social scientists concerning the importance of family background factors in predicting a variety of individual level outcomes, from academic performance and achievement to social and economic attainments in adulthood. What is less well known are the mechanisms that produce these adult-child linkages. In this paper we investigate two proposed hypotheses for the mediation of the effects of parental socioeconomic status—Kohn and Schooler’s (1983) concept of parental self-direction vs. conformity values and Lareau’s (2002,2003) concepts of concerted cultivation vs. natural growth in child-rearing—on children’s achievement. Our findings provide strong support for effects of our maternal SES factor and race-ethnic differences on math and reading scores. The measures of children’s time use (our measure of parental emphasis on concerted cultivation) have non-significant effects on math and reading scores. The models show significant effects of parental values on reading achievement, but not on math scores.

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Presented in Poster Session 5