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http://jfi.sagepub.com Family Dynamics, Supportive Relationships, and Educational Resilience During Adolescence

Robert Crosnoe and Glen H. Elder, JR. Journal of Family Issues 2004; 25; 571 DOI: 10.1177/0192513X03258307 The online version of this article can be found at: http://jfi.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/25/5/571

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Crosnoe , Elder / FAMILY DYNAMICS JOURNAL OF FAMILY ISSUES / July 2004 10.1177/0192513X03258307

ARTICLE

Family Dynamics, Supportive Relationships, and Educational Resilience During Adolescence

ROBERT CROSNOE University of Texas at Austin GLEN H. ELDER, JR. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

If problematic relationships with parents are an academic risk factor during adolescence, then nonparental sources of support (e.g., friends, siblings, and teachers) may be arenas of comfort that promote educational resilience in the face of such risk. In a series of structural models using the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, the authors found that nonparental relationships are more likely to be directly associated with academic behavior than to interact with parent-related risk. Protective interactions occur only among certain subgroups. For example, close relationships with teachers and involvement with friends protect against parent-related academic risk among Asian American adolescents, whereas support from friends operates similarly for younger girls. In other subgroups, parental and nonparental relationships interact but not in a protective way. These patterns demonstrate the complex interplay of developmental ecology and larger social structures during the adolescent stage of life as well as the context-specific nature of resilience. Keywords: resilience; life course; education; race; gender

Contemporary developmental research has cultivated a greater theoretical recognition of the complexity of the adolescent stage of life, drawing attention to the influence of interpersonal ties on adjustment, the interdependence of developmental settings, and the overarching role of social structure (Bronfenbrenner & Morris, 1998; Elder, 1998). This theoretical richness has, in turn, engendered empirical research that bridges multiple

Authors' Note: The authors acknowledge support by the National Institute of Mental Health (MH 00567, MH 57549) and a Spencer Foundation Senior Scholar Award to Elder. This research is based on data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (J. Richard Udry, principal investigator), which was funded by Grant PO1-HD31921 from the National Institute of Child and Human Development to the Carolina Population Center, with cooperative funding participation by 17 other agencies. The authors would like to thank Jeylan Mortimer for her helpful comments on earlier drafts of this article.

JOURNAL OF FAMILY ISSUES, Vol. 25 No. 5, July 2004 571-602 DOI: 10.1177/0192513X03258307 © 2004 Sage Publications

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domains on multiple levels to more fully gauge how young people come of age. This study follows this trend by exploring the potential functionality of the overlap among familial and extrafamilial relationships across diverse social groups. Specifically, it examines whether support from friends, siblings, and teachers protects against the academic risk of emotionally distant relationships with parents and whether this risk-protection interaction differs by developmental stage, race/ethnicity, and gender. Essentially, this study centers on the linkage between the parent-adolescent relationship and academic adjustment. This linkage has long been a research focus, but it can be studied in a more nuanced way. We view it here within the developmental ecology of adolescence, the larger social structure, and the intersection of the two. The motivation to pursue this topic in this way is gleaned from life course theory (Elder, 1998; Settersten, 1999, which is usually applied to more temporally oriented questions but is relevant to studies within one stage of life. This paradigm highlights the importance of interconnected relationships with significant others (linked lives), timing, and macro-structural context in organizing and shaping developmental trajectories. Drawing on this paradigm, relationships that occur within major settings (e.g., the family, school, peer group) overlap to influence adolescent adjustment, but the nature of this overlap differs by when it occurs in life and cannot be divorced from the larger social structure (e.g., gender and race/ethnicity). This study is also structured by a risk-protection framework borrowed from epidemiological research. Risk refers to individual or social factors that are associated with a greater likelihood of poor developmental outcomes, whereas protective factors decrease the association between risk factor and outcome (Garmezy & Masten, 1986). In this study, the potential risk factor is emotionally distant parent-adolescent relationships, whereas support from friends, siblings, and teachers serve as potential protective factors that may decrease the negative academic impact of the family risk factor. To embed this in more substantive terms, we introduce two concepts that will undergird our presentation. An arena of comfort is a supportive interpersonal context that enhances the ability to cope with challenges in other settings or, in other words, an interpersonal example of a protective factor (Simmons & Blythe, 1987). The process by which protective factors buffer against risk factors is the heart of educational resilience--success at school despite difficult circumstances. Bringing these concepts together, resilient youth do well despite distant relationships with parents, possibly because of nonparental arenas of comfort. The empirical analyses derived from these conceptual frameworks extend the work of Call and Mortimer (2001), who explored arenas of com-

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fort for several social psychological outcomes among Midwestern youth. Here, we apply this framework explicitly to the educational realm, examine how these processes play out across developmental stages, and locate these processes within the contexts of race/ethnicity and gender. Furthermore, we conduct this research with a nationally representative sample of American youth--the ongoing National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. In the following sections, we discuss the importance of social ties for adolescent academic outcomes, paying attention to age, race/ethnic, and gender differences. After describing our sample and methods, we present results from a series of structural models on the overlapping and socially embedded nature of adolescent relationships. PARENTS, ADOLESCENTS, AND EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCES At the center of this study is the linkage between adolescent academic adjustment and emotional support from parents. In other words, we do not delve into parents instrumental support or educational involvement but instead explore the academic implications of the affective quality of the parent-adolescent relationship. Such an approach is drawn from life course theory, which emphasizes how behavioral trajectories are intertwined with relationship trajectories and recognizes the connections among various social contexts. The linkage between emotional support from parents and adolescent academic performance is well-established. Warm and supportive relationships have been found to promote academic achievement and positive attitudes about education, whereas more distant or conflictual relationships can be tremendous stressors that disrupt proper functioning in school (Amato & Gilbreth, 1999; Call & Mortimer, 2001; Demo & Acock, 1996; Grotevant, 1998). Thus, in epidemiological terms, parent-adolescent emotional distance is an academic risk factor, its presence increasing the probability of academic problems. Sociological interpretations of the academic implications of parentadolescent dynamics often draw on the concept of social capital, asserting that close ties improve academic prospects by facilitating the transmission of important resources from adult to child in the form of instrumental assistance or pro-school attitudes, whereas distant ties block this transmission. Certainly, evidence supports this explanation (Coleman, 1988; Furstenberg, Cook, Eccles, Elder, & Sameroff, 1999). Although evidence

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does support this scenario, a more social psychological explanation better matches our focus on affective bonds and emotional support. Close relationships with parents serve as the secure foundation for adolescents'navigation of the external world. With such support, young people have more security and confidence to meet challenges in other domains--negative peer influences, school changes, academic pressures--and to successfully complete the developmental tasks of adolescence--identity formation, learning of responsibility, formulation of mature relationships (Dornbusch 1989). Without this secure base, however, adolescents are less able to cope with the rapid changes of their lives and adapt to new roles and environments (Csikszentmihalyi & Schneider, 2000; Simmons & Blythe, 1987). Crucial to the life course approach is the appreciation of issues of timing and macro-context, which suggest a potential variability in the family dynamics just described. For example, the influence of parents on adolescent behavior declines with age, as young people attempt to establish autonomy from the family (Crosnoe, 2000). Some evidence suggests that African American and Hispanic American youth benefit more academically from supportive parenting, whereas Asian American adolescents are more immune to harsh parenting (Deater-Deckhard, Dodge, Bates, & Pettit, 1996; Steinberg, Dornbusch, & Brown, 1992). Finally, girls tend to have a greater emotional stake in their relationships with parents and, consequently, seem more reactive to parenting in positive and negative ways (Call & Mortimer, 2001; Windle, 1992). Thus, the parent-adolescent relationship should be examined in relation to timing and context. PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS AS ARENAS OF COMFORT Prior research suggests that a lack of emotional support from parents hampers adolescent academic functioning. This risk factor is the given in this study. Our main objective is to examine the arenas of comfort that counterbalance this risk. To do so, we look at relationships from three primary settings of adolescent life: the peer group, family, and school. Can relationships in these settings mitigate the potential consequences of problems in the parent-adolescent relationship? This focus derives from the life course principle that young people develop within a system of social ties. When these ties are generally positive, they amplify social redundancy, creating a secure, interconnected base of support for adolescents to live their lives and face new experiences in mul-

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tiple domains. When supportive relationships mitigate the effects of unhealthy relationships, such overlap is developmentally functional in that the secure base necessary for successful development is not undermined by problems in any one domain (Elder & Conger, 2000; Rutter, 1985). In the case of this study, adolescents who grow up in the midst of family discord might not be as academically successful as those from more functional families, but they will do better than expected if their lives are built on other sources of support. We define success of this kind in difficult circumstances as educational resilience--nonparental arenas of comfort protecting against the academic risk of problematic relationships with parents. What interpersonal contexts promote educational resilience? We focus on relationships with friends, siblings, and teachers as potential arenas of comfort. All three loom large in the social worlds of adolescents, and emotional support from all three has been found to be associated with academic behavior (Buhrmester, 1992; Crosnoe, 2000; Sanders & Jordan, 2000). Again, the focus of this study is not on the main effects of these relationships on academic performance but instead on how they interact with parent-adolescent relationships to influence academic outcomes. Past research has rarely taken such an approach, and so we have to base much of our argument on related topics. Friendships become more prominent during adolescence, often supplanting parents as significant others (Crosnoe, 2000). Because of this, support from friends may buffer against a lack of parental support. Indeed, evidence suggests that friendships help young people cope with life stressors, such as divorce (Hetherington, 1989; Windle, 1992). On the other hand, Call and Mortimer (2001) reported that in their special sample, support from friends did not moderate the impact of family problems on grades. Sibling relationships are embedded in the same family system as parent-adolescent relationships and may be important for resilience (defined in terms of problems with parents). In general, we know less about siblings than other relationships. Although young people do not automatically turn to siblings in the absence of parental support (Dunn, 1992), those who rely on siblings during problematic family situations (e.g., divorce) are better adjusted (Hetherington, 1998; Jenkins & Smith, 1991). This dynamic could generalize to other family problems and to academic outcomes. Teachers can play an important role in the academic lives of young people (Muller, Katz, & Dance, 1999). Because of their power to guide, support, and set standards and expectations, teachers may promote educa-

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tional resilience in the face of problems between parents and adolescents. Muller (2001) found that support from teachers can protect against the academic problems associated with nonemotional family disadvantages, whereas Call and Mortimer (2001) found that such support can buffer against problems with parents in nonacademic ways. Such research suggests that close relationships with teachers may, to some extent, replace support that is missing at home. Thus, past research suggests that emotionally supportive relationships with friends, siblings, and teachers may promote educational resilience by serving as arenas of comfort. This phenomena, however, requires a more systematic treatment, such as recognizing that it may be highly context specific. For this reason, we draw on the life course principles of timing and macro-context and examine whether this phenomenon varies by developmental stage, race/ethnicity, and gender. If we know little about how personal relationships moderate familyrelated academic risks, then we know next to nothing about how such moderation differs by these three factors (or any other). Past research on related topics does little to guide us. For example, older adolescents tend to be more oriented to nonparental relationships (Crosnoe, 2000). This suggests that they have greater access to sources of emotional support, which increases the protective potential of nonparental relationships. At the same time, this suggests that older adolescents may be less affected by problems with parents, which reduces academic risk and therefore lessens the need for protection. A similar confusion surrounds race/ethnicity and gender. White adolescents tend to have the most advantages (e.g., resources, status) that promote school success, so that the power of any one domain to derail or enhance their educational trajectories is likely to be lower than for adolescents from more disadvantaged groups. Yet past studies have found that the ability of nonparental relationships to promote academic success varies sharply, and somewhat inconsistently, across minority groups compared to Whites (Ainsworth-Darnell & Downey, 1998; Steinberg et al., 1992). Turning to gender, girls tend to need greater emotional support to do well in school, but they also have closer relationships across the board (Call & Mortimer, 2001; Kuttler, La Greca, & Prinstein, 1999). This suggests that the negative impact of distant parent-adolescent relationships may be greater for girls but that girls may be more likely than boys to draw support from other sources that counterbalances this negative impact. Because of the alternative expectations that arise from different readings of past research relevant to this topic, we treat our additional analyses as exploratory. Rather than looking at main effects of social relationships

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on academic success within different groups, we study whether the interaction of parental and nonparental relationships differs by developmental stage, race/ethnicity, and gender. FAMILY RISK, ARENAS OF COMFORT, AND EDUCATIONAL RESILIENCE To summarize, this study has two main objectives, both of which are related to the proximate developmental settings of adolescence, the macro-structural context in which these settings exist, and the linkage between these two levels. First, we seek to determine whether emotionally supportive relationships with friends, siblings, and teachers serve as arenas of comfort that promote educational resilience in problematic family environments. Second, we explore whether this overlap of parental and nonparental relationships is more or less protective in certain population subgroups. METHOD

SAMPLE

This research uses data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health), a nationally representative study of adolescents in Grades 7 through 12. A sample of schools was selected from a list of American high schools provided by the Quality Education Database. To ensure diversity, sampling was stratified by region, urbanicity, school sector, racial composition, and school size. Each high school in the sample was matched to one of its feeder schools, with the probability of the feeder school being selected proportional to its contribution to the high school. More than 70% of the selected schools agreed to participate, with replacements selected from each community. This multistage design resulted in a final sample of 132 schools in 80 communities. All students in this population completed the In-School questionnaire in the 1994-1995 school year. Of these, a subgroup of students, selected evenly across high school/feeder school pairs, was selected to participate in two waves of in-home interviews in 1995 and 1996. A total of 14,736 adolescents participated in both in-home interviews. Our study sample consists of Add Health adolescents who meet four requirements: They participated in both waves of in-home interviews, had one parent inter-

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JOURNAL OF FAMILY ISSUES / July 2004 TABLE 1

Comparative Statistics for Study Sample Versus All Add Health Adolescents in Wave 1

Mean (Standard Deviation) Study Sample Female Age Intact family White Grade point average n .51 (.50) a 16.01 (1.49) a .53 (.50) a .56 (.50) a 2.78 (.77) 11,788 Wave 1 Adolescents .51 (.50) 16.16 (1.72) .50 (.50) .50 (.50) 2.75 (.77) 20,745

a. t tests indicate that two means differ significantly across groups (t > 1.96, p < .05).

viewed (parent data set, collected at Wave 1), are members of the four main ethnic groups (White, African American, Hispanic American, Asian American), and were in Grades 7 through 11 in Wave 1 (to ensure that all youth in the panel would be in school at Wave 2). These criteria result in a study sample of 11,788 youth. Sample characteristics are presented in Table 1. A majority of the sample is White (56%) and female (51%). Sample adolescents are, on average, about 15 and 16 years old and have a B+ grade point average. Table 1 also includes information on the same factors for the full Wave 1 sample. Comparisons between the two groups reveal some bias due to attrition and selection criteria. Compared to the Wave 1 adolescents, the sample adolescents are younger (recall that we excluded all Wave 1 seniors), better students, and come from more advantaged backgrounds.

MEASURES

The dependent variable is drawn from the Wave 2 in-home questionnaire, whereas all other measures are based on items in the Wave 1 inhome and parent questionnaires. Off-track academic behavior. The scale for our dependent variable consists of five items: whether the student has repeated the last grade in school (1 = yes), whether the student has had trouble in the past school year getting homework done (0 = never to 4 = everyday), the sum of whether the student has been expelled or suspended from school in the past school year (1 = yes for each), whether the student has skipped school

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Crosnoe, Elder / FAMILY DYNAMICS TABLE 2

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Univariate Statistics for Off-Track Academic Behavior Measure

Frequency (%) Held back in school No Yes Suspended/expelled from school Neither Either Both Skipped classes No Yes Had trouble with homework Never Just a few times About once/week Almost everyday Everyday Low grade point average Mean (Standard Deviation)

95.0 5.0 85.1 10.6 1.3 66.8 33.2 30.0 41.7 16.3 8.3 3.7

2.20 (.76)

in the past year, and the reverse-coding of the student's grade point average (the average of self-reported grades in English, math, social studies, and science in the past year, 1 = F/D and 4 = A). The correlations among these items range from .10 (p < .001) to .28 (p < .001). The five items are standardized and summed to create the scale (M = ­.16, SD = 2.63, = .65). Statistics for each item in this measure are presented in Table 2. We constructed this scale to move beyond mere measures of achievement (e.g., school grades) and better gauge the social psychological experience of schooling. Low scores on this scale group together a wide variety of students, including high achievers and those who are just getting by. The high end, however, is more meaningful, identifying the group of students whose educational careers are in clear trouble. Emotional distance between parent and adolescent. Our primary independent variable consists of five composite measures (all coded so that higher values represent more problematic relationships). One, bonding with adolescent, is based on parent report, whereas four, bonding to mother and father, communication with parents, activities with parents, and general family cohesion, are based on adolescent report. See Appendix A for a complete description of the construction of each of these five

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composites. The composites are positively correlated (p < .001), and with the exception of bonding to adolescent with cohesion, these correlations are moderate to strong. After standardizing all five measures, we take their mean for the final scale (M = ­.04, SD = .52, = .66). Based on the work of Furstenberg et al. (1999), we combine several composites together in this scale in order to tap, more broadly, the overall emotional tone of the parent-adolescent relationship. Some parent-adolescent relationships may be high on some factors and low on others, so that the middle values on this scale may be somewhat ambiguous. Yet the high and low ends of the scale represent clear extremes. Theoretically, this measure draws on three well-established dimensions of parenting: affective ties, shared activities, and security (Coleman, 1988; Hetherington, 1989). Statistically, it combines adolescent and parent reports, which increases construct validity and reduces shared method variance (Conger, Reuter, & Conger, 1994). Friendship. Three components of friendship are considered in this study. Each adolescent was asked a battery of questions about specific friends, a maximum of five female and five male friends. Involvement is the sum of four items (1 = yes, 0 = no): whether, in the past week, the adolescent had gone to the friend's house, hung out somewhere with the friend, and talked on the telephone with the friend, and whether the adolescent had spent time with the friend during the past weekend (M = 2.10, SD = 1.07, = .62). Support is a single item: whether, in the past week, the adolescent talked to the friend about a problem (M = .49, SD = .41). For each item, scores are averaged across all listed friends. Therefore, if only one friend is named, then the support score for that friend serves as friends support, but if 10 friends are named, then the average of support across the friends serves as friends' support. The impact of friendship might differ depending on the number of friends that an adolescent has, or alternatively, there might be a critical threshold, where having one friend is the crucial distinction. To account for this, we code as zero on involvement and support all respondents who name no friends and include a third friendship measure, the number of friends, which is the count of the friends listed by the respondent (M = 3.05, SD = 2.59). These three components reflect Hartup's (1993) call for studying both the qualities and quantity of friendships. Sibling relationships. Adolescents were also asked questions about specific siblings (maximum = 7). Sibling support refers to emotional closeness and is based on a single item: how often the adolescent feels

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love for the specific sibling. Responses, ranging from 1 (never) to 5 (very often), are averaged across siblings (M = 1.17, SD = 1.88). Slightly less than half of the sample has no siblings. To avoid excluding these adolescents, we code them as zero on support and include a measure for presence of siblings (1 = yes, 0 = no), based on the count of siblings listed by the respondent. This measure is included only as a statistical control. Its inclusion converts the sibling support variable into an interaction term, measuring support if siblings are present. Teacher relationships. This scale consists of three items: the extent to which the adolescent has trouble getting along with teachers, believes that their teachers treat students fairly, and feels that teachers care about him or her. Responses to each item range from 1 to 5: almost every day to never for the first item, strongly disagree to strongly agree for the second, and never to very much for the third. The average of the three serves as the composite measure (M = 3.72, SD = .76, = .68). Like several past studies, this measure does not refer to relationships with specific teachers but instead taps the adolescent's general feelings about the teachers in his or her school (Sanders & Jordan, 2000; Steinberg, Lamborn, Dornbusch, & Darling, 1992). Sociodemographic controls. Seven variables serve as controls: gender, age, parent education, race/ethnicity, parents educational expectations, adolescents' educational expectations, and prior off-track behavior. See Appendix B for descriptive information on these control variables.

PLAN OF ANALYSIS

For hypothesis testing, we estimated a series of structural models (without latent constructs) in Amos 4.0. We used this package because it allowed us to account for measurement error, estimate missing data (through full information maximum likelihood), and compare parameters across groups (Arbuckle & Wothke, 1999). All models are fully saturated and can be interpreted like standard regressions. In our basic modeling plan, we first included Wave 1 parent-adolescent distance (along with the controls) as a predictor of Wave 2 off-track behavior. Next, we added Wave1 friend, sibling, and teacher measures as predictors. Finally, we included interaction terms for parent-adolescent distance and all nonparental relationships. If an interaction term is significant (and in the proper direction), then that relationship can be viewed as

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JOURNAL OF FAMILY ISSUES / July 2004 TABLE 3 1

Correlations Among Relationships and Academic Behavior

2 3 4 5 6

1. Parent-adolescent distance 2. Number of friends 3. Friend involvement 4. Friend support 5. Sibling support 6. Teacher-bonding 7. Off-track behavior *Correlations significant at p < .05.

.02 .01 .02* ­.03* ­.32* .23*

­.14* ­.11* .05* ­.02* .04*

.32* ­.00 ­.09* .09*

.00 ­.09* .01

.03* .01 ­.31*

an arena of comfort (Garmezy & Masten, 1986; Simmons & Blythe, 1987). The second main question of this study was whether these processes differ by developmental stage (defined by school level), race/ethnicity, and gender. We do this with group modeling (Arbuckle & Wothke, 1999). For example, we first estimated a model in which the protective power of teacher bonding (the interaction of bonding with parenting) is freely estimated for boys and girls. In the next step, we constrained this effect to be equal across genders. If the change in 2/df between these steps was statistically significant, then we could conclude that this association differs across the two groups. RESULTS

RELATIONSHIPS FROM VARIOUS ECOLOGICAL SETTINGS AND ACADEMIC BEHAVIOR

To begin, we offer a preliminary look at the overlap of relationships in the ecology of adolescent development. Table 3 presents the correlations among the important relationship measures and off-track academic behavior. Parent-adolescent emotional distance is significantly correlated with other relationships: positively with support from friends and negatively with support from siblings and teachers. It is also positively correlated with off-track behavior, meaning that problems at home coincide with academic problems. Two other patterns in these data are important. Friend-

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ship elements seem to go along with problems at home and school. Teacher bonding has the most consistent pattern, negatively correlated with all other relationships (except support from siblings) and with offtrack academic behavior.

OVERLAPPING RELATIONSHIPS AND EDUCATIONAL RESILIENCE

Having given a glimpse of the key relationships that constitute adolescent life, we now turn to the main objective of this study: to explore relationship overlap by examining whether supportive nonparental relationships can serve as arenas of comfort. Table 4 presents results from a series of structural models relevant to this question. Of course, this objective rests on the core idea that emotional distance in the parent-adolescent relationship is an academic risk factor. Our analyses indicate that it is ( = .08, p < .001 in Model 1). The strength of this association is second in magnitude only to initial off-track behavior, but some caution is needed when interpreting the size of the effect. One standard deviation increase in parent-adolescent distance is associated with an increase in off-track behavior of only 3% of a standard deviation. Given the severity of the behaviors cataloged in this academic scale, any increase is problematic, but we stress that these effects are by no means large. Inclusion of relationships from other ecological settings reduces this risk of parent-adolescent distance even more ( = .06, p < .001 in Model 2), although it remains statistically significant. Of the potential arenas of comfort, teacher bonding has the strongest impact on off-track behavior ( = ­10, p < .001; one standard deviation increase in bonding associated with 4% of a standard deviation decrease in off-track behavior). Whereas teacher bonding reduces off-track behavior, friendship-related factors all increase academic problems. Sibling support has no relation to academic behavior. Our main focus is on conditional effects (see Model 3) or interactions among relationships. Significant and negative interactions would indicate that nonparental relationships are arenas of comfort that provide refuge from problems at home (in other words, they promote educational resilience). Only one interaction term is significant, but interestingly, it is positive in sign rather than negative. For this interaction between parent-adolescent distance and teacher bonding, we can sum the main effect of parentadolescent distance on off-track behavior with the interactive effect of parent-adolescent distance and teacher-bonding (.30 + .18 = .48, b coeffi-

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JOURNAL OF FAMILY ISSUES / July 2004 TABLE 4

Results From Regressions Predicting Off-Track Academic Behavior

Model 1 b Individual characteristics Female Age Parent education African American Hispanic American Asian American Parents educational expectations Adolescents educational expectations Prior off-track behavior Relationships Parent-adolescent distance Number of friends Friend involvement Friend support Presence of siblings Sibling support Teacher bonding Interaction terms Number of friends Friend involvement ­.28*** (.04) ­.11*** (.01) ­.03*** (.01) .19*** (.06) .21*** (.09) .18* (.09) ­.02 ­.14*** (.02) .43*** (.01) .42*** (.04) ­.05 ­.05 ­.02 .03 .03 .01 Model 2 b ­.34*** (.04) ­.12*** (.02) ­.04*** (.01) .23*** (.05) .27*** (.09) .26*** (.09) ­.03 ­.06 ­.07 ­.04 .04 .04 .02 Model 3 b ­.06 (.04) ­.12*** .02 ­.04*** (.01) .23*** (.05) .27*** (.09) .25*** (.09) ­.03 ­.34*** ­.07 ­.04 .04 .04 .02

­.00 (.03) ­.05 ­.13*** (.02) .49 .40*** (.01) .08 .31*** (.04) .03*** (.01) .10*** (.02) .18*** (.06) .23 (.15) ­.02 (.04) ­.34*** (.03)

­.01 ­.01 (.03) (.03) ­.05 ­.13*** ­.05 (.02) .45 .40*** .45 (.01) .06 .03 .04 .03 .04 ­.01 ­.10 .30*** .06 (.11) .03*** .03 (.01) .10*** .04 (.02) .19*** .03 (.06) .24 .04 (.16) ­.02 ­.01 (.04) ­.35*** ­.10 (.03) ­.01 (.02) .00 (.04) ­.01 .01 (continued)

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Crosnoe, Elder / FAMILY DYNAMICS TABLE 4 (continued) Model 1 b Friend support Presence of siblings Sibling support Teacher bonding R

2

585

Model 2 b

Model 3 b

.30

.33

.08 .01 (.11) .04 .01 (.27) ­.04 ­.01 (.07) .18*** .03 (.05) .33

NOTE: Model 1 is baseline model. Model 2 includes main effects for relationship variables. Model 3 includes interaction terms for all relationship variables (with parent-adolescent distance). b coefficients are unstandardized (with standard errors in parentheses), and coefficients are standardized. *p < .05. **p < .01. ***p < .001.

cients used rather than ) (see Jessor, Van Den Bos, Vanderryn, Costa, & Turbin, 1995). For the sake of interpretation, this sum can stand as the coefficient for the association between parent-adolescent distance and offtrack behavior for adolescents high in teacher bonding (e.g., for this group, one unit increase in parent-adolescent distance is associated with 18% of a standard deviation increase in off-track behavior). In other words, a supportive relationship with a teacher does not serve as an arena of comfort but instead appears to exacerbate risk in the family setting. Thus, emotional distance from parents is a significant academic risk factor for adolescents. This effect is small in magnitude, although it still exceeds the effects of family background, race/ethnicity, and academic attitudes. Nonparental relationships can influence academic behavior, in positive and negative ways, but do not protect against this parent-related risk. Life course theory suggests an extension of these analyses. This theoretical paradigm guides research on individual adjustment toward emphasizing timing and macro-context. In this vein, we now turn to the question of whether patterns of interactions among parental and nonparental relationships differ by developmental stage (defined by school level), race/ ethnicity, and gender.

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EDUCATIONAL RESILIENCE AND SCHOOL LEVEL

The developmental nature of adolescent relationships and academic adjustment requires that we take into account issues of timing. The role of various relationships, and the interactions among these roles, may differ as adolescents move through this stage of life. A true life course study would trace these patterns across time, a procedure that is not possible with the current data. Instead, we attempt to capture the spirit of this life course principle in our study of educational resilience by breaking down our basic model for high school and middle school students. The top portion of Table 5 presents descriptive statistics, by school level, for the key variables in the model. High school students have a higher mean level of parent-adolescent distance than do middle school students, and they also seem to be more peer oriented than their middle school counterparts. The bottom portion of Table 5 presents results from group modeling of our basic model by school level. For the most part, the two groups are quite similar. Initially, parent-adolescent distance was a significant academic risk factor for both, although this risk becomes nonsignificant for middle school students once other factors are taken into account. Turning to conditional effects, the pattern seen for high school students replicates the pattern for the full sample, but the finding from the full sample on teacher bonding (the interaction suggesting that teacher bonding strengthens the association between parent-adolescent distance and off-track behavior) does not hold for the middle school students. Thus, for the most part, the overlap between parental and nonparental relationships, when it does occur, does not seem to promote educational resilience at either stage. Timing is important, however, for the unexpected overlap, discussed above, between relationships with parents and teachers, which occurs only in later adolescence.

EDUCATIONAL RESILIENCE AND ADOLESCENT RACE/ETHNICITY

Macro-contexts are important to understanding the role of the interchange between parent-related risk and nonparental arenas of comfort. According to life course theory, the relation between individual development and linked lives is embedded in macro-contexts. The social structural elements of race/ethnicity and gender are representative of macrocontexts in American society. Again, these data are not equipped to contextualize developmental or relationship trajectories within race/ ethnicity or gender, but they do allow the exploration of how overlap in

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Results From Regressions Predicting Off-Track Academic Behavior, by School Level

High School (n = 8,532) Mean Descriptive statistics Off-track behavior Parent-adolescent distance Number of friends Friend involvement Friend support Sibling support Teacher bonding Group Modeling Main effects Parent-adolescent distance Number of friends Friend involvement Friend support Presence of siblings Sibling support Teacher bonding Interaction terms Number of friends Friend involvement Friend support Presence of siblings Sibling support Teacher bonding 2 R Middle School (n = 3,045) Mean

­.11a ­.01a 3.19a 2.17a .52a 1.16 3.71 b .24*** .02* .05* .15* .18 ­.02 ­.38*** ­.01 ­.00 .17 .14 ­.08 .22***a .33 (.11) (.01) (.02) (.17) (.19) (.05) (.05) (.02) (.04) (.12) (.32) (.08) (.06) .05 .03 .03 .02 .01 ­.03 ­.11 ­.00 ­.00 .01 .02 ­.03 .04 .34 b .33 .03 .16*** .08 .53 ­.08 ­.37*** ­.04 .03 ­.16 ­.38 .14 .01b

­.37b .13b 2.55b 1.91b .41 b 1.10 3.74 (.22) (.02) (.04) (.11) (.31) (.05) (.06) (.04) (.08) (.21) (.55) (.14) (.09) .06 .06 .03 .01 .09 ­.06 ­.11 ­.02 .01 ­.01 .04 .05 .00

NOTE: Controlling for gender, age, parent education, race/ethnicity, parents educational expectations, adolescents educational expectations, and prior off-track behavior. b coefficients are unstandardized (with standard errors in parentheses), and coefficients are standardized. Coefficients with different subscripts differ significantly (p < .05) across school level, according to one-way ANOVA for means an 2/df for interactions. *p < .05. **p < .01. ***p < .001.

developmental settings varies by structural location. To pursue this, we perform race/ethnic-specific analyses of our main model (see Table 6). The top portion of Table 6 contains mean differences by race/ethnicity. As expected, White and Asian American youth are less likely to be off track in school than are African American and Hispanic American youth.

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588 TABLE 6 White (n = 6,595) Mean ­.42c ­.04c 3.18b 2.15a .50 1.20ab 3.73b b (.14) (.01) (.03) (.07) (.19) (.05) (.04) .06 .03 .04 .03 ­.01 .03 ­.10 .09 .05* .11* .19 1.74*** ­.33*** ­.35*** (.26) (.02) (.05) (.12) (.44) (.11) (.06) .02 .04 .04 .03 .29 ­.24 ­.10 .49* .02* .14** ­.03 .07 .01 ­.41*** .31*** .03* .09* .22* ­.05 .04 ­.34*** b b (.24) (.02) (.05) (.15) (.45) (.11) (.08) ­.15b ­.07c 2.63c 2.02b .48 1.16b 3.65c .37a ­.01ab 3.00b 2.05b .49 1.07c 3.73b .10 .02 .06 ­.00 .01 .01 ­.12 .91 .02 .13 .30 .47 ­.13 ­.12 b (.51) (.03) (.09) (.26) (.71) (.17) (.15) Mean Mean African American (n = 2,598) Hispanic American (n = 1,954) Asian American (n = 641) Mean ­.40c .01a 3.51c 1.94c .48a 1.24a 3.88a

Descriptive Statistics and Selected Results From Group Modeling of Off-Track Behavior, by Race/Ethnicity

Descriptive Statistic

Off-track behavior Parent-adolescent distance Number of friends Friend involvement Friend support Sibling support Teacher bonding

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Group Modeling

.17 .02 .05 .02 .08 ­.09 ­.03

Main effects Parent-adolescent distance Number of friends Friend involvement Friend support Presence of siblings Sibling support Teacher bonding

Interaction terms Number of friends Friend involvement Friend support Presence of siblings Sibling support Teacher-bonding 2 R ­.00 ­.03b .09b .21 ­.11 .17**b .35 (.02) (.05) (.13) (.33) (.08) (.06) ­.00 ­.01 .01 .02 ­.04 .03 .28 ­.04 .20*a ­.48c ­.66 .02 .24*b (.04) (.16) (.24) (.72) (.17) (.11) .28 ­.02 .07 ­.04 ­.06 .07 .04 ­.02 ­.02b .62*a ­.24 ­.01 .20b .36 (.04) (.10) (.27) (.68) (.16) (.13) ­.01 ­.01 ­.05 ­.03 ­.00 .03 ­.12 ­.47*c .76a 1.71 ­.36 ­.54*a (.06) (.15) (.48) (1.30) (.33) (.24)

­.06 ­.16 .05 .17 ­.12 ­.07

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NOTE: Controlling for gender, age, parent education, parents educational expectations, adolescents educational expectations, and prior off-track behavior. b coefficients are unstandardized (with standard errors in parentheses), and coefficients are standardized. Coefficients with different subscripts differ significantly (p < .05) across ethnicities, according to one-way ANOVA for means an 2/df for interactions. *p < .05. **p < .01. ***p < .001.

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Asian American and Hispanic American youth tend to be more distant from parents, with African American youth having the least distant relationships. Other personal relationships show no clear pattern of race/ ethnic differences. Asian American adolescents have the most friends and receive the most support from teachers. Whites spend the most time with friends. African American adolescents lag behind the others in studentteacher relationships. Hispanic American youth lag behind the others in support from siblings. Does the ability of nonparental relationships to serve as arenas of comfort differ by race/ethnicity? The bottom portion of Table 6 contains results from group models relevant to this question. Results for Whites replicate those of the full sample; parent-adolescent distance is a slight risk factor, no nonparental relationship reduces this risk, and teacher bonding appears to increase this risk. Results from three minority groups, however, offer some intriguing differences. Before adding the interaction terms, parent-adolescent distance was a significant academic risk factor for all groups, although this risk became nonsignificant in subsequent steps of analysis. Friendships have a dualistic interaction with parental distance among African American adolescents. The negative interaction term for friends support in this group (b = ­.48, p < .05, 1 unit increase in support associated with a 18% standard deviation decrease in off-track behavior) suggests that emotionally supportive friendships promote educational resilience. On the other hand, the positive interaction for involvement in this group (b = .20, p < .05, 7% standard deviation increase in off-track behavior) suggests that such involvement is associated with the academic influence of parentadolescent distance being even more problematic. Hispanic American youth also have a significant interaction between support from friends and parent-adolescent distance, but unlike African American youth, it is positive in sign and larger in magnitude (b = .62, p < .05, 24% standard deviation increase in off-track behavior for every one unit increase in support). Like involvement with friends for African American youth and teacher bonding for African American and White youth, support from friends does not counterbalance the parent-related risk but instead appears to strengthen this risk. For Asian American youth, we see a significant interaction term for teacher bonding (b = ­.54, p < .05, 20% standard deviation decrease in off-track behavior) and involvement with friends (b = ­.47, p < .05, 17% standard deviation decrease in offtrack behavior). Unlike all other groups, these interactions, which are somewhat moderate in size, suggest that support from nonparental adults

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and friends can be arenas of comfort when emotional support is lacking at home. Of course, issues of timing, as well as linked lives, may be contextualized within the larger social structure, and so we also performed byrace/ethnic analyses within school levels. The results of these analyses are far too voluminous to present in tabular form, but we can summarize the general pattern. Analyses for high school students show basically the same pattern of results as seen in Table 6. Analyses of middle school students, however, show some differences. Among White youth in middle school, no nonparental relationships interacted with parent-adolescent distance in a positive or negative way, unlike White high school students, for whom we saw an interaction for teacher bonding. For African American adolescents in middle school, the protective role of friends' support is the same as for their counterparts in high school, but the problematic role of involvement with friends and teacher bonding, seen among older students, does not occur. In addition, the interaction of friends' support and parent-adolescent distance for Hispanic American students, seen in the full model, only held in high school. Unfortunately, we could not break up Asian American youth by school level, due to a lack of statistical power. To summarize, nonparental relationships can protect against parentrelated risk, but this protection depends, to some extent, on timing, the macro-context of race/ethnicity, and the interaction between relationships. For African American youth, friends' support protects against problems at home. For Asian American youth only, close relationships with teachers are protective. At the same time, in some circumstances, nonparental relationships are associated with parent-adolescent distance being an even stronger risk factor, as in the case of friendship involvement among older African American youth, teacher bonding among older White and African American youth, and friends' support among older Hispanic American youth.

EDUCATIONAL RESILIENCE AND ADOLESCENT GENDER

A second element representative of the larger social structure, gender, could also be an important macro-context for the interactions between parental risk and nonparental protection. Consequently, we performed the same sets of analyses for gender as for race/ethnicity. Table 7 contains the results of these analyses. As expected, girls have fewer academic problems. Although boys and girls do not differ in emotional distance from

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JOURNAL OF FAMILY ISSUES / July 2004 TABLE 7

Descriptive Statistics and Selected Results From Group Modeling of Off-Track Behavior, by Gender

Boys (n = 5,767) Descriptive Statistics Off-track behavior Parent-adolescent distance Number of friends Friend involvement Friend support Sibling support Teacher-bonding Group Modeling Main effects Parent-adolescent distance Number of friends Friend involvement Friend support Presence of siblings Sibling support Teacher-bonding Interactions terms Number of friends Friend involvement Friend support Presence of siblings Sibling support Teacher bonding 2 R Mean .23a ­.04 3.05 2.12a .37b 1.12b 3.68b b .25 .04* .10*** .16* .36 ­.05 ­.31*** .03 .01 .38*a .25 ­.11 .28*a .32 (.17) (.01) (.03) (.08) (.22) (.05) (.04) (.02) (.06) (.17) (.38) (.10) (.07) .05 .03 .04 .02 .06 ­.03 ­.09 ­.01 .01 .03 .03 ­.03 .05 .30 Girls (n = 6,021) Mean ­.54b ­.03 3.04 2.07b .61a 1.23a 3.76a b .40** .03* .11* .21 .10 .00 ­.39*** ­.01 .01 ­.21*b ­.15 .02 .08b (.15) (.01) (.03) (.05) (.23) (.05) (.04) (.02) (.05) (.10) (.32) (.09) (.06) .09 .03 .05 .03 ­.02 .01 ­.12 ­.00 .00 .03 ­.02 .01 .02

NOTE: Controlling for age, parent education, race/ethnicity, parents educational expectations, adolescents educational expectations, and prior off-track behavior. b coefficients are unstandardized (with standard errors in parentheses), and coefficients are standardized. Coefficients with different subscripts indicate significant gender difference (p < .05), according to one-way ANOVA for means an 2/df for interactions. *p < .05. **p < .01. ***p < .001.

parents, girls receive more emotional support from friends, siblings, and teachers. Multivariate analyses show some interesting gender differences. Before adding the interactions, parent-adolescent distance was a risk factor for both groups, but this risk became nonsignificant for girls in the final

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model. Turning to interactions, support from friends offers the greatest contrast between boys and girls. For girls, the negative interaction term for support from friends (b = ­.21, p < .05) suggests that this factor is an arena of comfort that counterbalances parent-related risk, but the opposite is true for boys (b = .30, p < .05). The problematic role of teacher bonding discussed above only holds among boys (b = .28, p < .001), but teacher bonding does not interact significantly with parent-adolescent distance for girls. Again, we reestimated this group model by school level. The results just described for boys hold only in high school. Analysis of middle school boys reveals no meso-system level interactions, protective or otherwise. For girls, we see significant interactions in middle school only. The protective interaction of friends' support seen in the full sample also occurs among younger girls, but a nonprotective interaction (e.g., increasing risk) also occurs in this group for support from siblings. To summarize, girls tend to enjoy more support than boys in nonparental relationships, but in general, they do not necessarily derive greater protection from these relationships. Only supportive friendships serve as arenas of comfort for girls and only in middle school. No personal relationship serves as an arena of comfort for boys at either school level, and some actually operate in the opposite direction. Thus, boys and girls are more alike than different in the overlap of relationships in their lives, but their differences also depend on their developmental stage (if school level is a proxy for stage). CONCLUSION A key developmental task of adolescence is to establish independence from parents, but this independence should develop within a supportive family environment. The absence of close relationships with parents is academically problematic for adolescents, just as it is for children, whether it results from the traits and behaviors of the parent, adolescent, or both. Yet adolescents are also active participants in a larger social world that extends far beyond their families. This expanded interpersonal world provides potential relationships to counterbalance what is lacking at home and to reinforce what is right at home. In applying the life course perspective to educational resilience, our goals have been to explore the nature of these overlapping relationships during adolescence, to determine whether such overlap promotes educational resilience, to examine the role of timing in conditioning the protective function of this overlap, and to con-

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textualize this constellation within the larger structures of race/ethnicity and gender. Like past studies, we have shown that families can be a source of academic risk. Such risk involves more than socioeconomic disadvantage but also a lack of emotional bonding between parents and adolescents. Young people who lack support at home, in the form of an absence of emotional ties and positive interactions, are more likely to get off track in school, in the form of lower engagement, attachment, and achievement, even controlling for differences in family background, parents' and adolescents' attitudes about education, and prior academic behavior. Thus, the academic importance of this home-school connection encompasses the very foundation of the parent-adolescent relationship--its ability to serve as a psychological base for the navigation of extrafamilial contexts. If this base is undermined, then adolescents may lack the confidence and conscientiousness to meet challenges, pursue tough goals, and cope with adversity. Lacking these abilities, they might be overwhelmed by school and, in turn, disengage. Unlike most studies, we have also explored how this parent-related risk can be counterbalanced by alternate sources of emotional support. In general, supportive nonparental relationships are related to academic outcomes in positive (e.g., teacher bonding) and negative (e.g., friends) ways, but they do not serve as arenas of comfort. These findings mirror those of Call and Mortimer (2001) on school grades in a special sample of adolescents. Yet this pattern of findings is not the final word. Unlike Call and Mortimer, we worked with nationally representative data (AddHealth) that allowed a more nuanced exploration of these processes that can better capture the guiding principles of the life course perspective. For our purposes, this nuance refers to variability in these processes that is related to timing and macro-context. This nuance is at the heart of the phenomenon of resilience during the adolescent stage of the life course. In some cases, nonparental personal relationships are directly related to academic outcomes. These associations do not mean that they are arenas of comfort, no matter what their positive effects may be. To be an arena of comfort, a nonparental relationship has to reduce the impact of a risk factor (parent-adolescent distance) on a developmental outcome (academic behavior). For the most part, nonparental relationships do not serve as arenas of comfort, except in specific examples. These examples are highly context specific--related to the intersection of timing, macro-contexts, and type of relationship. For example, the overlap among parental and nonparental relationships is most functional for Asian American youth and for girls in middle school.

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Among Asian American youth, a supportive relationship with a teachers can be an arena of comfort that mitigates the academic risk of an emotionally distant relationship with parents. If, as Chao (1994) suggested, the training components of Asian American parenting is crucial to the success of Asian American youth, then the absence of such disciplined guidance and management may derail academic trajectories among these youth. Teachers are authority figures who can offer support and guidance and are likely to stand in when parent-adolescent relationships break down. In other words, due to the unique nature of parenting in this population, teachers may be more capable of filling voids in the lives of Asian American adolescents. In this group, involvement with friends also appears to be an arena of comfort for these adolescents. According to Steinberg et al. (1992), peer involvement is often more positive, in academic terms, among Asian American youth because their peer groups are often organized around academic activities. Such a phenomenon could explain how just spending time with friends, not necessarily receiving support from friends, could lessen the academic risk of problems at home. For younger girls, a supportive friendship can also be an arena of comfort. Girls tend to be more oriented toward interpersonal relationships and to develop stronger emotional ties with friends (Crosnoe, 2000). For these reasons, they may be more likely to draw on one source of support when another is lacking and to derive more emotional sustenance from relationships with age mates in troubled times than boys. As they get older, the functionality of this overlap may decrease as their vulnerability to problems at home decrease or as their peer relationships develop into romantic relationships. The main premise of this study was that parental and nonparental relationships would condition each other in a functional way. The phenomena just described capture such functionality. Such functional overlap was rare; overlap itself was more common. Instead, we often saw what appeared to be dysfunctional overlap--potential protective factors related to a stronger association between risk and the academic outcome. In other words, we also saw examples of arenas of discomfort. We are hardpressed to explain such examples, but we can offer some speculation. The most glaring example of this arena of discomfort phenomenon centers on teacher bonding. Supportive relationships with teachers were directly related to lower off-track behavior in practically every group studied. We hypothesized that this source of support would also reduce the association between the parent-related risk and academic behavior, but it did not. In fact, teacher bonding appeared to increase this association. How could this be? One possibility is that boys, especially older

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boys, may receive greater attention and support from teachers because they have a history of academic problems, which, of course, are probably related to their family problems. Such support may translate into more positive feelings about teachers. Our analyses cannot tease out the bidirectional nature of relations in such a scenario. We should stress again that although these interactive effects contradict our expectations, the direct effects of teacher bonding are in line with past research. Other unexpected findings (e.g., arenas of discomfort) concerns friendship. Among African American youth, spending more time with friends exacerbates the impact of parent-related risk, whereas having supportive friendships assuages its impact. Heavy involvement with friends may take away from school-related activities, whereas emotional support from friends can bolster youth in facing challenges, including academic ones. Such findings add to the expanding literature on the role of peers in the educational experiences of African American youth, suggesting that the emotional tone of peer dynamics needs to be considered along with oft-studied peer values. For older Hispanic American youth, however, support from friends is related to a greater association between risk and outcome. Because Hispanic American families tend to be more oriented toward family relationships, their drawing of support from friends might reveal a degree of interpersonal conflict that is related to their overall functioning. Each ethnic group has its own patterns of relationship overlap, and these patterns may be embedded in the different experiences of each group and the meaning that they attach to the family and to academics. In general, the risk of emotional distance between parents and adolescents is more intractable among White and Hispanic American youth and more malleable among African American and Asian American youth. The lack of malleability of parent-related risk among Whites may be related to their economic advantages. In this group, the disadvantage of weak bonds with parents may lie more in the instrumental support that is lost (e.g., parents' investments and knowledge of education), which may be harder to replace than psychological resources. For Hispanic American youth, the reasons for this lack of protective overlap are probably quite different. Hispanic American youth are often economically disadvantaged and, of all groups studied here, have the most academic difficulties. They, like Asian American youth, also represent an incredibly heterogeneous population, including many immigrants with varying language skills. The cultural divide that separates many Hispanic American youth from other groups and from the American school system may be even

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harder to bridge when they lack a firm foundation of instrumental and emotional support at home. The greater malleability of parent-related academic risk, in positive and negative ways, among African American youth largely centers on their peer relationships. Such patterns of arenas of comfort and discomfort suggest that that the importance of their relationships with parents lies in social support--parents making adolescents feel secure and worthy in the face of a school system that often alienates them. Friends may provide alternate sources of support that mirror this ability of parents, even though excessive peer orientation can be problematic. Among Asian Americans, relationship overlap is more often functional than not. The unique orientation of Asian American youth, their friends, and parents to schooling and school success may increase the likelihood of ecological interactions promoting healthy outcomes. Of course, the interactions presented here, although statistically significant, are small in magnitude. No interaction explained more than one fourth of a standard deviation in the dependent variable of off-track behavior. The magnitude of these associations begs the question of whether they are substantively meaningful. We contend that they are. These associations arise from a conservative analytical framework that measures a change in academic behavior--behavior that may very well be firmly entrenched by adolescence--over a 1-year period. Still, they are stronger than the associations for more status-related factors, such as family background. We also argue that in light of the problematic nature of the behaviors cataloged in our dependent variable, any significant reduction in offtrack behavior is meaningful. This study has built on past research, especially that of Call and Mortimer (2001), by focusing on educational resilience (as opposed to general resilience or resilience in other domains) and by drawing on a larger, more representative sample that allows for intragroup analyses of developmental stage, race/ethnicity, and gender. We encourage others to build on this research in several ways. One clear avenue for future research is to explore other dimensions of personal relationships. Here, we examined the affective tone of parentadolescent relationships and the supportive features of three types of nonparental relationships. Although we certainly did not measure the parentadolescent relationship simplistically, we could have also examined other aspects of this relationship, such as parental hostility and parental nonresidency, or other aspects of the family system, such as conflict between parents. Other nonparental relationships could also be important to resilient pathways, such as those with mentors (e.g., ministers, coaches, Big

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Brothers or Sisters), romantic partners, and grandparents. In looking at such relationships, researchers should also take into account the interactions between the qualities of the relationship and the characteristics and behaviors of those involved in the relationship. Furthermore, our treatment of resilience could certainly be expanded. We examined resilience here by proxy, as the reduction of risk. Resilience can be measured more directly by, for example, creating a category of high-achieving youth from problematic family environments and then predicting membership in this category. Moreover, the importance of school level demonstrated here reinforces the benefits of longitudinal approaches to resilience. The nature of relationships change with age, as does the role of young people in school. Modeling trajectories across multiple time points, especially in relation to social context, is the best way to understand resilience. Resilience during the early stages of the life course is a complex phenomenon. With few exceptions, risk and protective factors are not universal but vary in relation to different domains, proximate ecological contexts, and social structural factors. This study only hints at the challenges of studying how some young people cope with risk. The complexity of resilience, as captured here, illustrates the more general complexity of the adolescent life course. We can only understand the resilient pathways of young people by viewing them as dynamic, intertwined with the experiences of significant others, and embedded in the structure of the larger society.

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APPENDIX A Five Composite Measures Used in Parent-Adolescent Distance Construct

Items

Five Composite Variables

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Parent-reported lack of bonding with adolescent (M = 1.81, SD = .64, = .74) Adolescent-reported lack of bonding with parents (M = 1.75, SD =.66, = .88)

Mean of parents assessment of how well he or she gets along with adolescent, the extent to which he or she makes decisions about the adolescents life with the adolescent, the degree to which he or she can trust the adolescent, and satisfaction with his or her relationship with the adolescent (1 to 5 = always to never for first three items, strongly agree to strongly disagree for fourth). For fathers, adolescents rate how close they feel to their fathers, how loving their fathers are, how satisfied they are with the communication with adolescent, and how satisfied they are with the relationship (a = .89). For mothers, adolescents answer same items, plus how much they feel that their mothers care about them and how often their mothers talk with them when things go wrong ( = 85). Take the mean for each parent, and then the mean across parents, if have information for both (1 = very much, 5 = not at all). Adolescent-reported lack of For each parent, adolescents rate how often they talked with parents, in the past month, about someone the adolescent communication with parwas dating, a personal problem the adolescent was having, school or grades, and things that were going on at school. ents (M = 2.16, SD = Take the sum for each parent, and then the mean across parents, if have information for both (0 = yes, 1 = no). 1.18, = .70) Adolescent-reported lack For each parent, adolescents respond whether, in the last month, they had gone shopping, played a sport, gone to a reliof shared activities with gious event, gone to a move or other cultural event, or worked on a project with their parents. Take the sum for each, parents (M = 3.58, SD = and then the mean across parents, if have information for both (0 = yes, ­1 = no). 1.04, = .64) Adolescent-reported lack Adolescents assess the degree to which they feel that the people in their families understand them, their family has fun of family cohesion (M = together, and their parents pay attention to them (1 = very much, 5 = not at all). 2.00, SD =.70, = .78)

599

600

APPENDIX B Descriptions and Descriptive Statistics for Control Variables

Description Self-reported gender (1 = female, 0 = male) Self-reported age, in years Parental report of educational attainment (1 = eighth grade or less; 2 = more than eighth grade, less than high school graduation; 3 = vocational instead of high school; 4 = high school graduate; 5 = completed a GED; 6 = vocational school after high school; 7 = some college; 8 = college graduate; 9 = professional training). The interviewed parents (mostly mothers) gave information for self and spouse. We took the mean of both if both available or the value of one if only one available. Self-reported race/ethnicity (four dummy variables)

Control Variable

Gender (51% female, 49% male) Age (M = 16.01, SD = 1.49) Parent education (M = 5.48, SD = 2.23)

Parent response to: How disappointed would you be if adolescent did not graduate from college? (1 = not disappointed to 3 = very disappointed). Adolescent response to: On a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 is low and 5 is high, how much do you want to go to college?

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Race/ethnicity (56% White, 22% African American, 17% Hispanic American, 5% Asian American) Parents educational expectations (M = 1.30, SD = .71) Adolescents educational expectations (M = 4.46, SD = 1.01) Prior off-track behavior (M = ­.30, SD = 3.00)

See explanation for Wave 2 off-track behavior in text.

Crosnoe, Elder / FAMILY DYNAMICS

601

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