Socioeconomic Stress and Academic Adjustment Among Asian American Adolescents: The Protective Role of Family Obligation

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Laura McLaughlin Gonzalez, Associate Professor (Creator)
Gabriela L. Stein, Associate Professor (Creator)
Andrew "Andy" Supple, Associate Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: Socioeconomic stress has long been found to place youth at risk, with low family income conferring disadvantages in adolescents’ school achievement and success. This study investigates the role of socioeconomic stress on academic adjustment, and pinpoints family obligation as a possible buffer of negative associations. We examined direct and interactive effects at two time points in the same sample of Asian American adolescents—early high school (N = 180 9th–10th graders; 60 % female) and 2 years later in late high school (N = 156 11th–12th graders; 87 % of original sample). Results suggest that socioeconomic stress is indeed associated with poor academic adjustment, measured broadly through self-reported GPA, importance of academic success, and educational aspirations and expectations. Family obligation was positively related to adjustment, and also was found to buffer the negative effects of socioeconomic stress, but only during adolescents’ later high school years. Adolescents reporting more family obligation experienced less of the negative effects of financial stress on academic outcomes than those reporting lower obligation. Cultural and developmental implications are discussed in light of these direct and moderating effects.

Additional Information

Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 42(6), 837-847
Language: English
Date: 2013
Socioeconomic stress, Family obligation, Academic adjustment, Asian American adolescents

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