Parenting beliefs and academic achievement across African-American and Caucasian family contexts

Matthew K. Mulvaney, Rebecca A. Morrissey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The purpose of this research was to examine the role of parents' child-rearing beliefs in determining the academic achievement of African-American and Caucasian children, with a particular emphasis on describing the differential impact of parenting beliefs across these family contexts. Models were specified in which third-grade academic outcome measures (teacher ratings and standardised assessments) were regressed on a composite variable representing the cumulative parenting beliefs between infancy and the transition to school, along with demographic controls. Across models, traditional parenting beliefs uniquely negatively impacted subsequent achievement across ethnicities and there was a moderating impact of ethnicity such that African-American children were more adversely affected by traditional beliefs than were Caucasian children. These results suggest that traditional child-rearing beliefs represent a risk factor for poorer academic achievement for both African-American and Caucasian children and may represent an important factor contributing to ethnic-group differences in school achievement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1105-1124
Number of pages20
JournalEarly Child Development and Care
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • academic achievement
  • parenting beliefs; achievement gap

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Pediatrics


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