A Longitudinal Daily Diary Study of Family Assistance and Academic Achievement Among Adolescents from Mexican, Chinese, and European Backgrounds

Department of Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, 90095-1563, USA.
Journal of Youth and Adolescence (Impact Factor: 2.72). 05/2009; 38(4):560-71. DOI: 10.1007/s10964-008-9391-7
Source: PubMed


A longitudinal daily diary method was employed to examine the implications of family assistance for the academic achievement of 563 adolescents (53% female) from Mexican (n = 217), Chinese (n = 206), and European (n = 140) backgrounds during the high school years (mean age 14.9 years in 9th grade to 17.8 years in 12th grade). Although changes in family assistance time within individual adolescents were not associated with simultaneous changes in their Grade Point Averages (GPAs), increases in the proportion of days spent helping the family were linked to declines in the GPAs of students from Mexican and Chinese backgrounds. The negative implications of spending more days helping the family among these two groups was not explained by family background factors or changes in study time or school problems. These results suggest that the chronicity rather than the amount of family assistance may be difficult for adolescents from Mexican and Chinese backgrounds.

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    • "Compared to European American and African American families , Latino adolescents spend more time helping their fami - lies around the house , in part because family connectedness for Latino ado - lescents from immigrant families is defined in part by a strong obligation to assist the family ( Hardway & Fuligni , 2006 ) . Telzer and Fuligni ( 2009 ) found that assisting the family was associated with higher levels of happiness among Latino adolescents due to a sense of role fulfillment . A few mothers and daughters in our study highlighted the importance of daughters completing their homework and putting effort into school . "
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    • "Whether adolescents find helping the family to be an enjoyable and meaningful activity will likely affect how family assistance is experienced. For example, adolescents who assist their family and feel that they are fulfilling important roles within their family, such as that of a good son or daughter, have more positive psychological and physical well-being (Fuligni et al., 2009; Telzer & Fuligni, 2009b). Thus, rather than placing a burden on youth, family assistance may provide them with a sense of fulfillment and purpose and give meaning to their daily activities. "
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