Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Thesis


Academic achievement -- Economic aspects, Academic achievement -- Social aspects, Parent and child


The purpose of this quantitative study is to examine the relationship between family structure and children's academic achievement, and to assess the roles of income and parental control in this relationship. The present study involves secondary analysis of data from the National Survey of Families and Households (Sweet & Bumpass, 1996) The National Survey of Families and Households (NSFH) is a national random sample survey conducted in two waves that covers a wide variety of issues on American family life. This study examines data gathered from the second wave of this data set. The total sample for the present research is 1056. The hypotheses guiding this study are derived from two theoretical perspectives which Bre based on the belief that children in intact, two-parent families exhibit higher levels of well-being than do children in single-parent families.

First, economic-deprivation theory states that it is not family structure, per se, that has an effect on a child's well-being; rather, it is the lack of resources, that often accompanies single-parent status (McLanahan, 1985). Second, father-absence theory suggests that income is not the key factor, but that the lack of motivation, supervision, attention, and role modeling that often occur in one-parent families are to blame for the lower wellbeing of children in single-parent families compared to those in intact, two-parent families (Amato & Keith, 1991).

The objective of the present study was to compare these theories using a group which has been left out of prior analyses-the father-only family. The anticipated relationships between family structure and income were not found. However, results did indicate that parental control had significant effects on children's academic achievement, regardless of family type. These findings have implications both for future research and for child custody arrangements.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology

First Advisor

Kristin Y. Mack, Chair


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Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (vii, 98 leaves ; 28 cm)



File Format


Included in

Sociology Commons