Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor's Name

Mary Levitt

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Gordon Finley

Third Advisor's Name

Robert Lickliter

Fourth Advisor's Name

Seth Schwartz

Fifth Advisor's Name

Barbara Thomlison

Keywords

academics, grades, nurturance, involvement, mother, father

Date of Defense

7-25-2014

Abstract

The present study examines how mothering and fathering impact child academic outcomes in divorced and intact families, and if there are unique influences of mothering and fathering variables for sons and daughters. An ethnically diverse sample of 1,714 university students from Florida International University (n=1371) and Florida State University (n=343) responded to measures on a questionnaire that included the Nurturant Fathering and Mothering Scales (Finley & Schwartz, 2004; Schwartz & Finley, 2005; Finley & Schwartz, 2006), the Mother and Father Involvement Scales (Finley, Mira, & Schwartz, 2008), demographic measures, and academic outcome measures. In intact families, mothering and fathering variables were significantly correlated with each other, and positively correlated with child academic outcomes including grades, GPA, academic satisfaction, and academic importance. In divorced families, mothering and fathering variables were not correlated with each other. Furthermore, when analyzing divorced families, significant effects were found for both parent and child gender. Mothering variables were found to have the greatest positive impact for sons’ academic outcomes. Maternal nurturance and maternal involvement were correlated positively with academic outcomes for sons from divorced families and accounted for 3-4% of the unique variance explained. Consistently, desired mother involvement, how much involvement the child wished they had received, was negatively correlated with academic outcomes for sons from divorced families and accounted for 10-15% of the unique variance explained. This means that when the amount of maternal involvement that sons in divorced families received matched or exceeded their desired level of involvement, sons had more positive academic outcomes including grades, GPA, satisfaction with academics and academic importance. This suggests that in intact family forms, nurturant and involved mothering and fathering have a positive effect on academic outcomes for sons and daughters. In divorced family forms, the effects of fathering on child academic outcomes were not significant. Therefore, in divorced families, the positive effects fathering on academic outcomes of sons and daughters drop out, and mothers are uniquely important for sons’ academic success.

Identifier

FI14071165

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