All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Sylvie Mrug

Advisory Committee Members

Fred J Biasini

Susan L Davies

Sean-Shong Hwang

David C Schwebel

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) College of Arts and Sciences


The current study addressed the relationship between short-term and long-term parental educational expectations and Chinese high school students' academic achievement. We proposed five factors and mechanisms to explain this relationship, including nonlinear associations of parental educational expectations with adolescents' academic achievement, mediation effects of child psychological distress, mediation effects of parental involvement, effects of parent-child discrepancies in educational expectations, and moderating effects of filial piety. Four hundred and ninety-one 12th graders from a mainland Chinese high school and their parents were recruited in this study, with a mean age of 18.4 years and 57% girls. When not adjusting for previous achievement scores, we found: (1) No curvilinear effect of parental educational expectations on adolescents' academic achievement, either for short-term or long-term expectations. (2) Adolescents' psychological distress mediated effects of short-term but not long-term parental educational expectations on their academic achievement. Parents with high short-term expectations were related to low distress levels that in turn led to better children's academic performance. (3) No mediation effects were found for parental involvement, either for short-term or long-term parental expectations. (4) When parent expectations were higher than children's, greater parent-child discrepancies in short-term educational expectations were associated with higher levels of distress and lower achievement; when child expectations were higher than parent's, greater discrepancies were associated with lower levels of distress and higher achievement. Parent-child discrepancies in long-term educational expectations were only related to children's academic achievement but not their psychological distress, and the association pattern of long-term expectational discrepancies with achievement performance was similar to that of short-term expectational discrepancies. (5) We found no moderating effects of filial piety on the direct and indirect effects of parental educational expectations and parent-child expectational discrepancies on children's achievement. For analyses controlling for effects of previous achievement, most effects were attenuated due to the high correlation between previous and current achievement scores and none of the five hypotheses was supported under this condition. Limitations and implications of this study were discussed.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.