Adolescents' academic success and aspirations by parental marital status

Authors


  • *This project was sponsored by grant 605–1356-42 from the ‘National Health Research and Development Programme,’ Canada Ministry of Health and Welfare, 1976-8, and by a research grant from York University in 1981. We gratefully acknowledge the collaboration of Mireille Steinberg and Normand Laplante, the research assistance of Sharon F. Nielsen and Gail White, as well as Jean Liebman's manuscript preparation. This manuscript was received in November, 1981, and accepted in June, 1982.

Abstract

L'étude des relations entre le statut marital des parents et divers aspects de la condition de vie de leurs enfants constitue un aspect important de la littérature sur la famille. Ce genre de recherche a été trop souvent menéà l'aide ‘d'échantillonages’ cliniques de parents et/ou d'enfants; de plus, ces études ont porté soit sur des families séparées/divorcées ou sur des families en veuvage. Ces recherches ont démontré que les enfants provenant de ces deux types de famille souffrent de multiples désavantages. Visant le succès et les aspirations scolaires, nous avons recensé un large échantillonage représentatif de la population Montréalaise d'adolescents francophones, en classes (privées et publiques) durant l'hiver de 1977. Les résultats obtenus montrent que les adolescents de families séparées/divorcées obtiennent de moins bonnes notes, aiment moins l'école, et s'attendent à quitter leurs études plus tôt que les enfants de couples qui vivent encore ensemble. Les enfants de veufs/veuves occupent une position intermédiate. Ces résultats sont discutés à l'intérieur d'un modèle de désavantages psycho-socio-économiques, et nous offrons des suggestions de recherche au sujet des relations causales pour le futur de ces adolescents.

One important facet of the family literature has been to study the relationships between parental marital status and various aspects of children's life situation. This research too often has been carried out on clinical ‘samples’ of parents and/or children; moreover, the emphasis has been either on widowed OY on divorced families. This literature points to disadvantages for children from either types of dissolved unions. Focusing on school success and expectations, we surveyed a large and representative sample of all Montrd francophone teenagers in school (public and private) in the winter of 1977. We found that adolescents from separated / divorced families did less well in school, liked school less, and expected to abandon school earlier the adolescents from legally intact families. Adolescents from widowed families generally occupied an intermediate position. The results are discussed within a framework of psycho-socio-economic disadvantages, and suggestions are offered concerning various potential causal relationships for these adolescents' future.

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