Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Human Development and Family Studies

First Advisor

Maurice MacDonald


Systems theory was used to link family functioning in the task of boundary regulation to adolescents' academic performance. Boundary regulation, a family task defined in terms of proximity and generation hierarchy, is believed to be the most critical to family functioning because it sets a precondition for the execution of other family tasks. Data from Wave II of the National Survey of Families and Household (NSFH) were used to identify family interaction patterns that reflect proximity and generation hierarchy aspects of boundary regulation, utilizing both parent and adolescent responses. Proximity was measured by items representing physical and emotional closeness of family members, while generation hierarchy was measured by reciprocal role enactment by parents and adolescent children. Exploratory principal component factor analysis was performed separately for parents and adolescents, to identify the items loading on the proximity and generation hierarchy. Second-order factor analysis, performed to further reduce the factors, combined proximity and generation hierarchy to form the family functioning variables for the regression analysis. Results indicated that boundary regulation was a strong predictor of academic performance and that second order factors were better predictors of academic performance for both the parents and adolescents. Contribution and significance of the findings to the field of family studies and to the general academic performance literature were discussed. Suggestions for further research as well as the implication of the research findings for policy in family life education and school and community interventions were also outlined.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Jane Rose Muthoni Njue



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

132 pages