Identifying Student Perceptions: The Effect of Parent-Child Relationships on Attitudes Towards Academic Abilities

Document Type


Publication Date

April 2010

Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Elizabeth Morgan

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This study expands on research that identifies the many negative effects poor parent-child relationships can have on children by examining how these disadvantages continue into children’s young-adult lives and influence attitudes and confidence levels towards success. This study will focus on young-adult, college students and will specifically consider their attitudes and confidence levels towards achieving self-defined, academic success. The purpose of this research is to determine if participants with weak parent-child relationship face more academic disadvantages due to lower levels of confidence and development of derogatory attitudes towards their capability to achieve in order to identify potential educational disparities related to family background. Twenty-two face-to-face interviews were completed with college students from a Northwestern University in which questions about family background and academic attitudes were asked. Findings indicated the converse of the hypothesis to be true showing that students with the weakest parent-child relationships exhibited the highest levels of confidence in their ability to achieve academic success on their own without any outside influences.

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