Youngsters, family characteristics and study involvement

Sarah Botterman, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Nele Havermans, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Koen Matthijs, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

Education is a social stratification mechanism that divides the haves from the non-haves. As a consequence, several research efforts have investigated the relationship between family characteristics and youngsters’ educational outcomes. In this paper, special focus is placed on the subjective indicator of study involvement. Next to the effect of parental divorce, also intermediating factors that often coincide with a divorce are taken into consideration. In this way, the financial problems at home, the presence of parental conflict and the quality of the relationship between youngsters and their father and mother are considered possible explanatory factors of study involvement. As results show, divorce has a clear negative effect on study involvement, yet, its effect reduces as parental conflict and a bad relationship with mother and father have more substantial effects on study involvement. Additionally, we look at interaction effects between divorce and the important mediating factors of parental conflict and the relationship between youngsters and their mother and father. The interaction terms relating to divorce and quality of relationship with mother and father yield no significant results. Nonetheless, results show that there is a positive and significant interaction term of parental conflict and divorce, meaning that in case of a divorce, parental conflict has a less negative effect on the level study involvement for youngsters than when youngsters’ parents are still together.

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Presented in Session 16: Human capital and well-being