"Parenting with Purpose: Influences of Promotion and Prevention Strategies on Black Adolescents’ Developmental Outcomes"
Society for Research on Adolescence (SRA) Biennial Meeting
April 12-14, 2018
Presentation Title: "Parenting with Purpose: Influences of Promotion and Prevention Strategies on Black Adolescents’ Developmental Outcomes" (poster)
Authors: Nestor Tulagan, Jacquelynne Eccles
According to a Family Management perspective (Furstenberg, Cook, Eccles, Elder, & Sameroff, 1999), parents simultaneously promote positive goals for their children and prevent negative experiences that may impede their children’s academic potential. Within Black families, parents’ role in youths’ positive development may be especially important, given Black adolescents’ numerous challenges. Along with a history of academic underachievement (Musu-Gillette et al., 2016), Black youths face other challenges that undermine Black adolescents’ academic and psychological well-being (Wong, Eccles, Sameroff, 2003; Benner & Graham, 2009). However, parents’ support strategies are known to promote Black adolescents’ positive motivational and academic outcomes (Harackiewicz, Rozek, Hulleman & Hyde, 2012; Wang & Sheikh-Khalil, 2014; Wang & Eccles, 2012; Wang, Hill, & Hofkens, 2014; Gutman & Eccles, 1999; Hill & Tyson, 2009), as well as minimize negative psychological outcomes (Wang & Sheikh-Khalil, 2014; Cunningham & Swanson, 2010).
Existing studies have failed to take into account the ways in which parents employ strategies to specifically address a variety of goals and aims. Given that parents may engage in strategies for different reasons (Furstenberg et al., 1999; Gutman & McLoyd, 2003), contextualizing parenting strategies for the aims they are intended to address is needed to more clearly understand the pathways through which parental strategies influence different developmental outcomes.
Research Goals. This study examined two types of parenting behaviors: promotion strategies to foster adolescents’ skills and prevention strategies to preclude negative experiences (Furstenberg et al., 1999). Our objectives involved examining the extent to which Black parents’ promotion and prevention strategies differentially predict changes to Black adolescents’ academic functioning and psychological well-being.
Using data from 879 Black families, we measured the extent to which parents implemented strategies (e.g. monitoring, provision of experiences, teaching) aimed for promotion of their adolescent children’s (Mage = 12.3 years; 46.6% female) talents and skills and prevention of adolescent-specific worries and negative experiences. In 7th and 8th grade, we measured adolescents’ academic functioning (i.e. grades, academic self-concepts, and academic attainment value) and psychological wellbeing (i.e. negative perceptions of themselves and of life outcomes).
We conducted multiple regression analyses, examining the predictive associations of each type of strategies on developmental outcomes. We sequentially controlled for demographic covariates of parent education, family income, and adolescent gender, as well as prior measures of the outcome variables.
Black parents’ promotion and prevention strategies appeared to differentially shape specific developmental outcomes. Final regression models revealed that parents’ promotion strategies positively predicted changes to academic self-concept and educational expectations, controlling for other variables. Contrary to predictions, however, parents’ prevention strategies predicted decreases in grades and increases in perceptions of negative life, controlling for other variables. However, because prevention strategies are aimed to address potentially negative experiences, these strategies may have brought salience to the challenges adolescents may experience in the future, thereby negatively impacting outcomes. Nevertheless, further analyses need to explore the extent to which the associations found is moderated by socio-demographic characteristics and the parent-child relationship quality.