Parent and Teacher Involvement and the Development of Students' Academic Engagement: A Growth Curve Analysis Over Four Time Points

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Journal of Adolescence




This study sought to examine how warm involvement from parents and teachers contributes to the development of students' academic engagement, and whether the relative contributions of adults differ as students begin the transition to middle school.

Trivariate latent growth curve modeling was used to examine 1011 third–sixth graders' (95% White, 52.7% female) reports of parent and teacher involvement and engagement across fall and spring of 2 consecutive school years in the United State

Even though engagement showed different patterns of normative change across grades, parents' and teachers' initial levels and changes in involvement uniquely and positively predicted initial levels and changes in student engagement, respectively. However, initial levels of adult involvement made unique negative contributions to engagement trajectories for students in some grade segments, especially those whose engagement was changing most rapidly. Students with higher initial levels of adult involvement were more likely to experience losses in involvement the following school year, making them susceptible to declines in engagement, even though they remained higher in engagement than students with lower levels of adult involvement

These findings suggest that to maintain or promote engagement over late elementary and early middle school, students need “continuity of caregiving,” in which involvement from both adults is sustained or augmented over the time that engagement trajectories are unfolding.

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