The Relationship between Social Capital and Educational Outcomes for Biological Children in Two-Parent Families: An Examination of "True" Family Structure

Chelsea Garneau, Auburn University
Kate T. Harcourt, Auburn University
Kay Pasley, Florida State University

This study examined how family structure moderates the relationship between social capital and educational outcomes for biological children in two-parent families. Importantly, family structure was defined by biological relationships to parents and siblings, thus many biological children were correctly classified as mutual children living in stepfamilies. Social capital and family structure were measured when participants were 12-14 years old, and a variety of educational outcomes were examined from high school completion through postsecondary degree completion. Social capital was measured as parental monitoring, parent-child relationship quality, and parent-school involvement. Findings were that mutual children in blended stepfamilies were less likely to complete a postsecondary degree than those in intact two-parent families. Living in a blended stepfamily also moderated the influence of parent-school involvement on the likelihood of completing a bachelor's degree, such that it was stronger for those in intact families. Issues of correct family structure classification are addressed.

  See paper

Presented in Session 158: Family Structure and Schooling