Parental Provision of Academic Structure and the Transition to Middle School

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Abstract

This study examined parents' provision of academic structure, and whether they implement it in an autonomy supportive or controlling manner, in relation to children's competence-related beliefs, motivation, and academic behavior over the transition to middle school. Interviews with 160 sixth-grade children were coded on parental structure and autonomy support. Children reported on their competence-related beliefs, motivation, and engagement in sixth and seventh grades. Regression analyses showed that higher structure predicted seventh-grade perceived competence, intrinsic motivation, engagement, and English grades, controlling for these same outcomes at sixth grade. Autonomy support predicted perceived competence, autonomous motivation, and English grades, controlling for prior outcomes. Structural equation models indicated that relations between structure and engagement and between autonomy support and grades were mediated by perceived competence.

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