Promoting First-Generation Latino Success through Parental Pro-Educational Interventions: A Longitudinal Study
Moreno, Carlos A
Hebl, Michelle R
Master of Arts
Latinos comprise the fastest growing minority group and are expected to comprise the largest contribution (75%) to the U.S. workforce growth between 2020 and 2034 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2012). In particular, Latino job seekers are anticipated to fill many of the absences that will emerge as the baby boomers retire at unprecedented rates. The expectancy-value theory (Eccles, 2009), social role theory (Eagly, 1987) and lack-of-fit model (Heilman, 1983) provide theoretical explanations for several social and structural barriers facing Latino parents’ decision to encourage their children’s post-secondary education. The current study explores four barriers that limit Latino parents’ attitudes and behaviors toward their children’s higher educational attainment: a) a belief that familism is contrary to seeking higher education, b) lack of knowledge about college and the application process, c) inaccurate perceptions of social networks in higher education, and d) a lack of awareness of Latino role models, particularly those who have college degrees. In a longitudinal experimental study, we examined the impact that educating parents about one of these four constraints have on their follow-up attitudes and behaviors. Time 1 of the study employed the interventions that were conducted in the greater Houston-area and in which brochures were provided to parents. Time 2 and Time 3, the focus of this master’s thesis, focused on documenting the potential longer-term impact and behavioral ramifications that might result from the initial presentations. Results revealed support for effective strategies that, in term, increased the behavioral engagement of parents for post-secondary education attainment. The most effective strategy was the process knowledge intervention. In addition, these interventions enhanced parents’ supportive knowledge and leadership knowledge from Time 1 to Time 2. Implications and future research are discussed.