Financial Strain, Major Family Life Events, and Parental Academic Involvement During Adolescence

Daisy E. Camacho-Thompson, Cari Gillen-O’Neel, Nancy Gonzales, Andrew J. Fuligni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Parental academic involvement—whether through school participation and communication, or supervision and assistance at home—often has been cited as a way to enhance academic achievement. Yet, little is known about how the financial and life pressures faced by families can compromise parents’ ability to become involved in their adolescents’ education. In the current study, these dynamics were examined among Mexican-origin families, who often may face challenging financial and familial circumstances, and whose students may have more difficulty in secondary school. Parents of Mexican-origin ninth and tenth grade students from two high schools in Los Angeles (N = 428; 50 % female) completed quantitative interviews. The results revealed that financial strain predicted less involvement at school, and major family life events predicted less involvement at home, even after controlling for potentially confounding factors. Moreover, both of the associations between parental stress and parental academic involvement were mediated by lower levels of relationship quality between parents and adolescents, but not by conflict within the parent–adolescent dyad or parental depressive and somatic symptoms. The findings suggest that stress may limit parents’ ability to become involved their adolescents’ education, and highlight the importance of understanding family dynamics when examining parental academic involvement among Mexican-origin families.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1065-1074
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of youth and adolescence
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016


  • Family functioning
  • Financial strain
  • Latino families
  • Major family life events
  • Parental academic involvement at home
  • Parental academic involvement in high school
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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