Graduation Year

2012

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Granting Department

Psychological and Social Foundations

Major Professor

Lisa M. López

Co-Major Professor

Linda Raffaele Mendez

Keywords

Hispanic Students, Home-School Collaboration

Abstract

Parental involvement has a major influence on students' academic and overall success; however, Latino parents tend to be less involved than non-Latino parents. Additionally, Latino students have higher dropout rates than other ethnic groups, and their continued underachievement is of great concern to many educators. The purpose of this study is to better understand Latino mothers' involvement and identify the precursor factors that may influence these mothers' involvement in their children's education. Specifically, the study investigated specific family factors that may potentially impact Latino mothers' involvement at school and at home (i.e., mothers' number of years residing in the U.S., mothers' English proficiency, mothers' level of education, and mothers' mental health). Parental involvement and family factors were evaluated using a demographic parent interview, while mothers' mental health was evaluated using the Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI). All participants (N = 165) were Latino mothers of children who attended Head Start programs or kindergarten in public schools in five counties in Florida. Hierarchical linear models were utilized to evaluate the relationship between the different family factors and Latino mothers' involvement at school and at home. Results indicated that at school involvement was correlated to some extent with mothers' English proficiency, mothers' education level, mothers' anxiety (panic), mothers' hostility, and mothers' paranoid ideation. Additionally, findings suggested that mothers' English proficiency increased the predicted at school involvement score for the participants. The remainder predictors were not found to be statistically significant; thus further research must be conducted to examine and better understand parental involvement of Latino parents given that these parents are less likely to become involved in their children's education.

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