Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Human Development and Family Studies

First Advisor

Mary Winter


The purpose of this study was to discover the effects of adolescent autonomy, parental academic involvement and parental academic expectations as they link gender, age, ethnicity, and immigrant generation to adolescent academic performance. A selected sample from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health data set (Add Health) was used to examine these relationships specifically for Latino/as with comparisons drawn to White, African American, and Asian adolescents. Special emphasis was also placed on gender differences for each ethnic/racial group. The outcome variable of adolescent academic performance was assessed using the adolescent's reported grade point average (GPA). The sample was analyzed as a whole using a four-stage hierarchical regression model controlling for single versus dual-parent homes, the adult-to-child ratio in the home, parent education, mental and learning disabilities, depression, and self-esteem.;It was discovered that adolescent autonomy, parental involvement and parental expectations do not mediate the relationship between the independent variables (gender, age, ethnicity, and immigrant generation) and GPA but rather serve as additional explanatory variables. All three variables had a positive influence on academic performance regardless of gender or ethnicity. Most notably, parental involvement was the single strongest predictor of Latino/a adolescent performance, especially for Latino males. In addition, many of the relationships observed and the explanatory strength of the variables examined were ethnic- and gender-specific. Educational recommendations are made for working with ethnic minority males, as well as their parents, specifically those who are not native to the United States.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Keren M. Zuniga



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

177 pages