Date of Award

Spring 5-2016

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ded)

Department

Educational and School Psychology

First Advisor

Mark McGowan, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Lynanne Black, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Mark Staszkiewicz, Ed.D.

Fourth Advisor

Shannon Phaneuf, Ph.D.

Abstract

The caregivers of children of incarcerated parents have been given a responsibility to ensure proper care of a child’s physical, emotional, and mental needs. Poehlmann, Dallaire, Loper and Shear (2010) have indicated that children of incarcerated parents have risk factors that affect social and academic outcomes. These risks include substance abuse and future incarceration, as well as attendance difficulties and failure in school. The partnership between the family and the school setting may play a pivotal role in the overall social and emotional well-being of the child of an incarcerated parent. An awareness of the factors that affect consistent support for children of incarcerated parents can be gleaned from the assessment of caregivers’ motivations for involvement in the family-school partnership. In the current study, caregivers of children of incarcerated parents completed a questionnaire that assessed their motivations for involvement in the family-school partnership. The questionnaire is an adaptation of the Parent Involvement Project (PIP) Parent Questionnaire (The Family-School Relationship Lab) that is based upon the Hoover-Dempsey & Sandler Model of Parental Involvement (Hoover-Dempsey & Sandler, 2005). Caregivers of children of incarcerated parents (n = 71) from a mid-sized urban school district in South Central Pennsylvania, completed the PIP at various community locations during October 2014 and November 2014. Hierarchical Linear Regression analyses were used to determine which caregiver psychological beliefs and perceptions predicted school-based and home-based involvement in the family-school partnership, when controlling for the age of the student and the length of parental incarceration. Results suggest that personal psychological beliefs, contextual motivators, and perceived life context accounted for a significant portion of the variance in predicting both school-based and home-based involvement in the family-school partnership. In particular, specific child demands emerged as a significant individual predictor in both school-based and home-based involvement. Implications for the field of school psychology are noted as well as recommendations for future research with this unique population.

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