Envisioning a meaningful future and academic engagement: The role of parenting practices and school-based relationships

Article (PDF Available)inPsychology in the Schools 55(5) · June 2018with 230 Reads
DOI: 10.1002/pits.22146
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Abstract
In contrast to the focus on short-term, extrinsic goals in our society (e.g., wealth, prestige), positive youth development scholars have highlighted the need for parents and schools to help youths cultivate and plan for long-term, intrinsic, and meaningful goals (i.e., envisioning a meaningful future), arguing that envisioning a meaningful future is potentially inspiring and associated with better outcomes for youths. Envisioning a meaningful future includes being future-oriented and planful and having a sense of purpose, a life focus that provides deep meaning to life and contributes to the good of society. This study used structural equation modeling to examine the direct and indirect effects of parental and school relationships on envisioning a meaningful future and academic engagement in a diverse sample of adolescents (n = 624). Parental and school-based relationships were positively associated with academic engagement, and this association was partially mediated by envisioning a meaningful future. Analyses revealed the importance of parental and school relationships in engaging youths in developing a vision for a meaningful future toward the goal of academic engagement. Variations between African-Americans and Whites, and across grade and parental education levels are discussed. K E Y W O R D S academic engagement, adolescents, parental support, youth purpose
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