Examining the Academic Achievement of Black Adolescents Importance of Peer and Parental Influences Academic Article uri icon


  • The achievement gap between White and Black youth is well documented. This continuing gap becomes of particular concern in middle school because of the general decline in engagement and achievement noted in all students during this transition. Cultural explanations are typically provided for the racial achievement gap, but additional reasons should be explored to gain a comprehensive understanding of this phenomenon. One such reason is the influence of parents and peers. While these influences on academic achievement, engagement, and achievement values of youth have been examined in middle school White populations, less attention has focused on Black populations. The current study explored these constructs in a sample of 181 Black adolescents to identify protective factors that may counteract decreases in achievement in this population. Results indicated that achievement values significantly predicted engagement, and engagement significantly predicted achievement. Additionally, both peer and parental influence affected these processes. Implications for future research and intervention strategies are discussed.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 2.35

author list (cited authors)

  • Darensbourg, A. M., & Blake, J. J.

citation count

  • 14

complete list of authors

  • Darensbourg, Alicia M||Blake, Jamilia J

publication date

  • April 2014