Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2018

Document Type

Thesis

Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors

Department

Psychology & Neuroscience

First Advisor

Dr. Sona Dimidjian

Second Advisor

Dr. Mark Whisman

Third Advisor

Dr. Javier Krauel

Abstract

Parent experiences of belonging and connection to their children’s school have important implications for children’s academic outcomes. Experiencing a sense of belonging and connection may be more challenging among Latino/a families, relative to White families, due to cultural, linguistic, and institutional barriers that are disproportionately experienced by Latino/a families in many schools in the US. There are no available measurement tools to index Latino/a parents’ experiences of belonging and connection that have been subject to psychometric and cultural validation studies. Using a mixed methods approach, this project examines the psychometric properties of extant self-report questionnaires among Latino/a parents to guide the measurement of belonging and connection in schools in valid, reliable, and culturally relevant ways. Our results explore Latino/a parent and educator definitions of belonging and connection to school. We demonstrate that the adapted Psychological Sense of School Membership scale is a promising candidate self-report measure to index Latino/a parent experiences of belonging and connection. We also propose specific changes to measurement tools to address the barriers that many Latino/a parents face, such as limited bilingual capacities among school and limited time to participate in traditional parent roles such as after-school activities and volunteering due to work obligations.

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