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PARENTAL INVOLVMENT, FAMILY STRUCTURE, AND ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT - page 47 / 102

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academic achievement, so the effect of the independent variable on the dependent cannot

be discredited as a spurious relationship.

The results of the original study and the hypothesized results of the regression

demonstrate yet another aspect of the complicated nature of the interrelation between the

three variables. First, because SES and parental involvement may affect each other and

are likely to change over time, it is difficult to state definitively which occurs first — an

essential step in establishing causality. For example, the first hypothesis: students from

family structure types that include both biological parents are likely to exhibit higher

academic achievement scores relative to students from non-traditional family structures,

suggests that parental involvement, as it occurs in real life, is somehow isolated from SES

or a variety of other social factors that may affect academic achievement. However, when

controlling for SES, the effect of parental involvement may increase or decrease —

depending on which aspect of parental involvement is being measured — a clear

indication that both SES and parental involvement can affect academic achievement and

that they are related to each other.

According to Allison (1999), one method of clarifying this relationship involves

establishing the chronological order of events, in this case, SES occurring before parental

involvement, which would suggest that SES affects parental involvement which then

affects academic achievement. The diagram included in Allison’s text is helpful in

understanding this point:

SES Parental Involvement Academic Achievement

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