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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    • "Family obligation has a complex relationship to academics (Fuligni, 2001; Fuligni et al., 1999; Telzer & Fuligni, 2009b; Tseng, 2004) and well-being (Fuligni & Pedersen, 2002; Fuligni & Telzer, 2013, 2009a). Although immigrant Latino youth hold high values for family obligation and frequently engage in these behaviors, values and behaviors lead to different academic outcomes. "
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    ABSTRACT: U.S. colleges place a high value on the fulfillment of academic obligations by their students. The academic achievement of each individual student is the institutional priority; this is an individualistic frame of reference. However, many Latino first-generation college students have been raised to prioritize family obligations; their home socialization is collectivistic. Our exploratory study investigated how Latino first-generation college students experience home-school value conflict between family obligation and individual academic achievement during their transition to college. A group interview followed the prompt of a conflict scenario that each group member first responded to in writing. The written responses provide evidence of the prioritization of school or home and the conflict that can arise in making these decisions. The group discussions that followed identified multiple types of home-school conflict and provide insights into how these conflicts are experienced. Conflicts revealed by the data included attending family events or visiting parents versus doing academic work, family assistance versus focusing on academics, allocating money for travel to see family versus allocating money for educational expenses. In turn, these home-school value conflicts were experienced both as lasting over time and as playing a negative role in students’ academic achievement and sense of well-being.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2014 · Journal of Adolescent Research
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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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    ABSTRACT: American children gain more autonomy as they progress through adolescence, however, autonomy-granting for Latina adolescent girls from immigrant families is a relatively unexplored question. In this study, we identified behaviors that Mexican mothers and their daughters deemed to be appropriate when they reach the age of La Quinceañera, a cultural rite of passage at age 15. Daughters hoped for rules regarding social activities to become less strict whereas mothers intended to continue to exert control, especially in the areas of peer and social activities, household duties, and homework responsibilities. The mothers were open to granting more independence in personal areas such as physical appearance and they were also willing to allow their daughters to group date. Although the mothers and daughters expected the mothers to continue to engage in a controlling and protective parenting style, both mothers and daughters anticipated more mutual decision-making and open communication when daughters turned 15 years of age.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2013 · Journal of Adolescent Research
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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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    ABSTRACT: Family assistance is an important aspect of family relationships for adolescents across many cultures and contexts. Motivations to help family members may be driven by both cultural factors and early family experiences. Here, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging to examine (1) cultural differences in neural reward activity among White and Latino youth during online experiences of family assistance and (2) how prior family experiences related to neural reward activity when helping the family. Participants were scanned as they made decisions to contribute money to their family and themselves. Latino and White participants showed similar behavioral levels of helping but distinct patterns of neural activity within the mesolimbic reward system. Whereas Latino participants showed more reward activity when contributing to their family, White participants showed more reward activity when gaining cash for themselves. In addition, participants who felt more identified with their family and who derived greater fulfillment from helping their family two years prior to the scan showed increased reward system activation when contributing to their family. These results suggest that family assistance may be guided, in part, by the personal rewards one attains from that assistance, and that this sense of reward may be modulated by cultural influences and prior family experiences.
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