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The proper APA Style reference for this manuscript is:
YOUNG, T. (1998). Children`s Study Habits and Parental Involvement. National Undergraduate Research Clearinghouse, 1. Available online at http://www.webclearinghouse.net/volume/. Retrieved October 6, 2022 .

Children`s Study Habits and Parental Involvement
Missouri Western State University Department of Psychology

Sponsored by: Brian Cronk (cronk@missouriwestern.edu)
Children`s study habits have been related to parental involvement for many years. Parental involvement includes many different situational factors, such as, how much time a parent studies with their child, how much time a parent allows a child to watch television, and if the parents smoke. In this study fourth grade children were given a survey about situational factors in relationship to their parents. The demographic information that was included was their age and gender. There were some significant differences of situational factors parents participate in compared to the study habits a child retains.

Childrenís study habits and the degree of parental involvement in studying seem to show differences in how they learn and how serious they are about learning. Some examples of what can influence children and their scholastic achievement are if their parents study with them, how much television they watch, and if they even like school. Luster and McAdoo (1996) believe that parents influence what a child brings to school and how well a child acquires school related skill throughout the school years such as working with a child on homework and this can influence other behaviors such as study habits that will affect the childís achievement.

Parent training interventions are highly promising for young children (Webster-Stratton, 1993). Parents have many different influences on their children and parents are needing more intervention programs because of all the problems children are faced with today. Parents who have these trainingís show that only 30% to 40% have continued to show child behavior problems in the clinical range (Forehand & Long, 1986 as cited in Webster-Stratton, 1990).

Children who attend preschool are more likely than there peers to have favorable experiences in early elementary grades and, ultimately to achieve desirable outcomes (Berrueta-Clement, Schweinhart, Barnett, Epstein & Weikert, 1984 as cited in Luster & McAdoo, 1996). Playing is an important activity in the school setting, and that they also learn that work is important (Ferne, 1988 as cited Marshall, 1993). In elementary school setting, schools should become more "playlike" rather than worklike (Block, 1984 as cited in Marshall, 1993). This type of learning is in the student as learner role, which shows that children learn by playing and other activities. Children who are sent to preschool will adapt to schoolwork routines quicker which will act out through the rest of their school years (Edwards & Merter, 1987 as cited in Marshall, 1993). Children who are involved in sports are also more likely to be better in mental skills (Kreiner-Phillips & Orlick, 1993; McCaffrey & Orlick, 1989; Orlick & Lee-Gartner, 1993; Orlick & Parington, 1986, 1988 as cited in Gilber & Orlick, 1996). Orlick (1993) believes that elementary schools should develop a program on mental skill and this will help them to effectively lower their heart rates, which will help them in both psychological and physiological states.

Socioeconomic and racial status also play a role in learning and in how much children want to know and learn. One-fourth of high schools serving low-income neighborhoods have dropout rates of 50% or higher (Braddock & McPartland, 1992 as cited in Luster & McAdoo, 1996). There is no relation to the race and the socioeconomic status, because there are whites in both classes and African-Americans in both classes. According to the National Academy of Sciences (1993) African American children from poor families succeed in school, but there are no known factors that contribute to this. Parents are not the only ones to blame for school failure, the communities have low funding, expectations and high levels of stress and peer pressure. With these findings it is clear that we need to use intervention programs not only for parent but also for students and teachers as well. Cigarette smoking increases the risk of health problems for not only those who are active smokers but for passive smokers as well (U.S Department of Health and Human Services, 1980, 1988, 1989). Smoking also produces physiological effects as well as biological and psychological problems. Smoking may also interact with other parental characteristics that take away form the parent child interactions, such as the amount of time they study with them or if they even study with them Leftwich & Collins, Jr., 1994). Children whose parents smoke show a number of behavioral symptoms such as irritability, decreased self-control and lack interest or attention (USDHHS, 1980 as cited in Leftwich & Collins, Jr., 1994).

Viewing television for more than four hours a day is related to poor school achievement (Williams, Haertel, Haertel & Walberg, 1982 as cited in Truglio, Murphy, Oppenheimer, Huston, & Wright, 1996). According to Rice, Huston, Truglio, and Wright (1990) educational programs are associated with better academic skills and prosocial behavior, however, most children watch more cartoons than anything. Families in lower economic classes watch television more than those in higher classes (Condry, 1989 as cited in Truglio, Murphy, Oppenheimer, Huston, & Wright, 1996). Children who attend an after school program are also less likely to watch as much television, and boys are more likely to watch more television than girls (Nielson, 1990 as cited in Truglio, Murphy, Oppenheimer, Huston, & Wright, 1996). The purpose of this study is to determine if parental involvement and other parental influences have an effect on children`í study habits and attitudes. The hypothesis is parents who smoke will have less interactions with their children such as they will spend less time studying with their children. Children who are involved in sports are more likely to do their homework and children who go to an after school program are more likely to watch less television leading to better scholastic achievement.


This study used 59 fourth grade students from two local schools in St. Joseph Missouri, located in the northwestern region of the state. The two schools being used are of different economic statuses. Demographic information that was gathered was their age and gender.

The classroom teachers gave me the permission slips, so I knew the children who were able to participate in the study. I gave them a short survey consisting of 14 questions.

The classroom teachers read the names of the children who were able to participate, and when their name was read the child came and got a survey and then took it back and completed it. After they completed the survey they turned it back into me and the permission slips were also given to me in a sealed envelope.


For the 59 participants I used a Spearman Rho correlation, for all 14 questions I represented in the survey. There were 10 significant

correlationís found in this study. Parents who smoke had children who watch more television (Rho(58)=.355,p<.05). There was also a positive correlation between children who like school with their parents smoking (Rho(58)=.334,p<.05), and smoking also correlated with the school the children go to(Rho(58)=-.372,p<.05). The school the child goes to had a positive correlation with them attending an after school program (Rho(58)=.299,p<.05). The children who were at the lower income school were less likely to attend an after school program. There was a significant correlation between the age of the child with the school they attended (Rho(58)=-.342,p<.05). The children in the higher income school had less of an age range in their students. There was a significant correlation between a child doing their homework with the parents being divorced (Rho(58)=-.273,p<.05). There was a higher divorce rate in the lower income school. Another correlation observed was the school the child attends with if they do their homework (Rho(58)=-.344,p<.05). The children in the higher income school do their homework more often than children in the lower income school. There was a positive correlation between children who do their homework with if they do their homework when their parents are not there to help them, (Rho(58)=.276,p<.05). The time studied correlated with if they did their homework (Rho(58)=-.298,p<.05). The time they studied also correlated with if they studied when their parents were not able to study with them,

(Rho(58)=-.296,p<.05). There were no other significant correlationís found. This study consisted of 28 girls and 31 boys and there were 31 nine year olds, 27 ten year olds and 1 eleven year old.


The goal of this study was to examine the relationship between childrenís study habits, their parentís involvement and other situational factors. It was found that the school the child went to determined how often they did their homework, it was also found that the children at the lower income school had more parents who smoked. It was also found that the children who had parents who smoked the child watched more television. This is interesting when examined with the fact that parents who smoke do not spend as much time studying with their children, allowing them more time to watch television. This leads to lower grades because they do not do their homework as often leading them not to like school as well.

I also expected to find a relationship between the sex of the child and whether he or she did his or her homework, the results were insignificant. There was also no significant relationship between doing homework and playing sports. If there were older students as participants we may have found that playing sports leads to doing homework, because of

competitiveness and better mental skills.

There may have been some limitations to this study such as, the way the teacher acted, or if they were suppose to be somewhere else. One class had a teacher hurrying them so they could go to another class. Another possible limitation could have been a reward, one class received extra recess if they brought back their permission slip and participated in the study. There may have also been a limitation of if they read the questions and did the survey themselves or if by me reading the questions to them they answered

differently. There may have also been another limitation to the fact that some did not know some of the words in the survey.

There were students who were not able to participate in the study because they forgot to bring their permission slip back. Some of the others were not able to participate because they were absent. One school had nine children out because of headlice, and the other school had 12 absent for various reasons and 9 in special programs.

In conclusion, many aspects involving the parental relationship were discovered in this study. There are many different aspects to look into for future studies in this area. There are many different situational factors that affect childrenís study habits and we can only assume the possibilities because it is so complicated to test. There are too many interactions that are involved in determining the truth, but there are a lot of factors, for researchers to work with in the near future.


Gilbert, J. N., Orlick, T. (1996). Evaluation of a life skills program with grade who children. Elementary School Guidance and Counseling, 31, 139-152.

Leftwich, M.J.T., Collins, F.L. (1994). Parental Smoking, depression, and child development: Persistent and unanswered questions. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 19, 557-569.

Luster, T., McAdoo, H. (1996). Family and child influences on educational attainment: a secondary analysis of the high/scope Perry Preschool data. Developmental Psychology, 32, 26-39.

Marshall, H.H. (1994). Childrenís understanding of academic tasks: Work, play, or learning. Journal of Research in childhood Education, 9, 35-46.

Truglio, R.T., Murphy, K.C., Oppenheimer, S., Huston, A.C. (1996). Predictors of childrenís entertainment television viewing: why are they tuning in?. Journal of applied Developmental Psychology, 17, 475-493.

Webster-Stratton, C., Hammond, M. (1997). Treating children with early-onset conduct problems: A comparison of child and parent training interventions. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 65, 93-109.


Nonparametric correlations

Spearmanís Rho


Do your parents smoke? How much television .355**

do you watch?

What school do you attend? Do you go to an after

School program? .299*

What school do you attend? How old are you? -.342**

Do you do your homework? Are your parents divorced? -.273*

What school do you attend? Do you do your homework? -.344**

Do you study when your

parents cannot study with you? Do you do your homework? .276*

How often do you study a night? Do you do your homework? -.298*

Do your parents smoke? Do you like school? .334**

Do your parents smoke? What school do you go to? -.372**

How much time do you Do you study when your

Study each night? Parents canít study with you? -.296*

**Correlation is significant at the .01 level (2-tailed).

*Correlation is significant at the .05 level (1-tailed).


Circle the one that best fits you.

1.How old are you?

8 9 10 11

2.Are you a boy or girl?

Boy Girl

3.Do your parents study with you?

Always Sometimes Never

4.Do you do your homework?

Always Sometimes Never

5.Do you study when your parents canít study with you?

Always Sometimes Never

6.How long do you study each night?

Less than 1 hour 1-2 Hours More than 2 hours

7.Did you go to preschool?

Yes No

8.Do you go to an afterschool program?

Yes No

9.Are your parents divorced?

Yes No

10.How often do you watch t.v. a night?

Less than 1 hour 1-2 hours More than 2 hours

11.How many of your parents smoke?

None One Both

12.How many meals do you eat a day?

One Two Three

13.Do you play sports?

Yes No

14.Do you like school?

Yes No

Submitted 5/20/98 2:16:54 PM
Last Edited 8/17/2008 4:51:52 AM
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