Family Resilience Processes Predicting Low Income Kindergarten Children's Approaches To Learning And Reading Achievement

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Family Resilience Processes Predicting Low Income Kindergarten Children's Approaches To Learning And Reading Achievement
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1 online resource (97 p.)
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english
Creator:
Mixon, Kacy Allison
Publisher:
University of Florida
Place of Publication:
Gainesville, Fla.
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Thesis/Dissertation Information

Degree:
Doctorate ( Ph.D.)
Degree Grantor:
University of Florida
Degree Disciplines:
Marriage and Family Counseling, Human Development and Organizational Studies in Education
Committee Chair:
AMATEA,ELLEN S
Committee Co-Chair:
ECHEVARRIA-DOAN,SILVIA CARIDAD
Committee Members:
PUIG,ANA
MILLER,DAVID
COADY,MARIA R

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Subjects / Keywords:
children -- lowincome -- poverty -- reading -- resilience
Human Development and Organizational Studies in Education -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
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Marriage and Family Counseling thesis, Ph.D.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

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Abstract:
The purpose of this study was to use a family resilience theoretical perspective to identify three resilience factors in low-income families that influence children’s academic success. Using data from 3,066 low-income families from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten (ECLS-K) database, relationships among indicators of three family resilience processes (i.e. family belief systems, family organizational patterns, and family communication) and children’s school outcomes were examined. Comparisons between this study sample and the total ECLS study sample were reported. Significant differences by gender were reported for children’s approaches to learning but not for their reading achievement. Although teacher’s and parent’s assessment of children’s approaches to learning were strongly correlated with each other and with reading achievement, none of the family resilience variables predicted teacher’s assessment of a children’s approaches to learning. However, connectedness and open emotional expression significantly contributed to the prediction of parent’s assessment of their child’s approaches to learning and the family organization process of connectedness significantly contributed to the prediction of children’s reading achievement scores.  Although findings (i.e. confirmatory factor analysis, reliability, fix indexes) revealed that the hypothesized model showed promise for measuring the relationships between family resilience processes, reading and children’s approaches to learning, the final analysis revealed need for model adjustment. Implications for research, theory and practice are discussed.
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In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
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Includes vita.
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Includes bibliographical references.
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Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
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This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Kacy Allison Mixon.
Thesis:
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2013.
Local:
Adviser: AMATEA,ELLEN S.
Local:
Co-adviser: ECHEVARRIA-DOAN,SILVIA CARIDAD.

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lcc - LD1780 2013
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UFE0046248:00001


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1 FAMILY RESILIENCE PROCESSES PREDICTING LOW INCOME KINDERGARTEN APPROACHES TO LEARNI NG AND READING ACHIEVEM ENT By KACY A. MIXON A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2013

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2 2013 Kacy A. Mixon

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3 To my family

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4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS There are many people who have helped me reach this point. Thanks to the UF Counselor education faculty who have provided support and motivation. I want to express my gratitude to each of my committee members. Thanks to my Chairperson, Dr. Ellen Amatea, fo r continuous guidance, patience, and facilitating interactions that promote growth. She has been a wonderful role model for how to embody integrity and thoughtfulness within the counselor education field. Thanks to Dr. Silvia Echevarria Doan, for recogniz ing my strengths, ushering me into roles that fostered opportunities to learn and hone my skills as a clinician and educator, and providing support along each milestone. Thanks to Dr. Ana Puig for supplying inspiration, taking me under her research and wri ting wing and pushing me towards connection to combat feelings of isolation. Thanks to Dr. Maria Coady for enthusiastically supporting my research vision and advocating through words and action for the needs of marginalized families. Thanks to Dr. Miller f or having patience and easing my confusion surrounding any and all things related to methodology. Special thanks to the administrative staff of the HDOSE and UF Counselor Education program (Patty B., Candy, Patty L., Angela, and Eileen) their smiles, humor and Linda Behar Horenstein for her guidance during the proposal process. Thanks to Drs. John Scanzoni and William Marsiglio for inspiring me in my studies and in vesting in my professional capital. To Drs. Kate Warner, Martha Laughlin, and Jennifer Lambert Shute, thank you for being wonderful mentors and colleagues over the years. You provided me with the foundational wings to be able to accomplish this goal and c ontinued to support me throughout the flight I extend my gratitude for being an amazing mentor. He honed in on my potential early in my clinical career and has since provided many opportunities for me learn and grow.

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5 To Amy Loomis an d Ashley Bast, true inspirations, many thanks for encouraging me to press on. Both have helped me remember to persevere and I am grateful for the humorous and validating talks that have propelled me forward. To Adrienne Baggs and Isabel Thompson -my rocks. Each paved the way and through courage and le adership showing me what was possible; I adore your kindness, humor and authenticity. Thanks to Eric Thompson for his enthusiasm and support, especially during the analysis process. Thanks to Peter Kelly for hi s encouragement, wit, and joyful presence. Thanks to Sara Agnelli who continuously reminded to balance utilization of outside support and self strength To these friends and so many more, thank you I am honored to have you on my team. To the clients, stud ents, and supervisees that I have had to privilege to encounter, many thanks for being a part of my journey and teaching me how to serve with a helping heart Finally, I want to acknowledge my family. Thanks to my Nana, Dee Roberts, and Papa, Mike Roberts who have shown faith in my ability to accomplish this goal and provided me with unconditional love. I am incredibly grateful to my parents, Veronica and Gerald Mixon, who have been unwavering in their belief in me. I am honored to have a mother as a role model to flawlessly demonstrate grace, commitment, and strength as well as a father who fosters vision, purpose, and big dreams. To the Mixon siblings (Jerry, Pam, Keith, Marie, Greg, Yvonne, Randal, and Chiara), thank you for your encouragement that seem ed to come at just the right times in my journey. Thanks to my nieces and nephews (Savannah, Katie, Julianna, Kelly, Samuel, Libby, Trey, Owen, Lilly, Lucy, and Chapman), they have inspired me to keep moving forward so that I can say to them with certainty

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6 TABLE OF CONTENTS P age ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 4 LIST OF TABLES ................................ ................................ ................................ ........................... 8 LIST OF TERMS ................................ ................................ ................................ ........................... 11 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 13 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................................ .................. 15 Approaches to Learning ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 16 Readin g Achievement ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 16 Theoretical Framework ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 17 Need for the Study ................................ ................................ ................................ .................. 22 Purpose of the Study ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 23 Research Question ................................ ................................ ................................ .................. 24 Overview of the Study ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 24 2 REVIEW OF LITERATURE ................................ ................................ ................................ 26 Deficit based Family Research ................................ ................................ ............................... 26 ................................ ................................ .... 26 Family Dynamics ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 27 Parental Well Being ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 29 Deficit based Research Limitations ................................ ................................ ................ 30 Resilience based Family Research ................................ ................................ ......................... 32 Belief Systems ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 34 Family Organizational Patterns ................................ ................................ ....................... 37 Family Communication ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 39 Conclusion ................................ ................................ ................................ .............................. 40 3 METHODOLOGY ................................ ................................ ................................ ................. 42 Design of the Study ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 42 Definitions of Variables ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 43 Participants ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................. 44 Participant Ince ntives ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 45 Inclusion and Accessibility ................................ ................................ .............................. 45 Instrumentation ................................ ................................ ................................ ....................... 45 Approaches to Learning Scales ................................ ................................ ....................... 46 Reading Assessment ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 47 Family Resilience Processes ................................ ................................ ............................ 47

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7 Data Collection Procedures ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 48 Hypotheses ................................ ................................ ................................ .............................. 49 Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ 50 4 DATA ANALYSIS AND RESULTS ................................ ................................ .................... 54 Data Analytic Procedures ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 54 Descriptive Statistics for the Study Variables ................................ ................................ ........ 55 Gender Differences in Reading Achievement & Approaches to Learning ............................ 57 Confirmatory Factor Analysis on Family Resilience Processes ................................ ............. 57 Structural Equation Modeling ................................ ................................ ................................ 58 Results of Regression Analyses ................................ ................................ .............................. 59 Student Approaches to Learning and Reading Achievement ................................ .......... 59 Family Resilience Processes on Reading ................................ ................................ ........ 59 Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ 61 5 DISCUSSION ................................ ................................ ................................ ......................... 76 Demographic Characteristics ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 76 Gender Differences in Reading Achievement and Approaches to Learning .......................... 77 Approaches to Learning and Reading Achievement ................................ .............................. 78 Family Resilience Processes Predicting Reading Achievement ................................ ............. 79 Family Resilience Processes Predicting Approaches to Learning ................................ .......... 80 ................................ ....................... 81 Study Limitations ................................ ................................ ................................ .................... 81 Implicatio ns ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................ 83 Implications for Research ................................ ................................ ................................ 83 Implications for Practice ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 84 Im plications for Theory ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 85 Recommendation for Future Research ................................ ................................ ................... 85 Conclusion ................................ ................................ ................................ .............................. 87 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 88 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 96

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8 LIST OF TABLES Table page 3 1 Family Resilience Processes Family Belief Systems ................................ ........................ 51 3 2 Family Resilience Processes Family Organizational Patterns ................................ ........... 52 3 3 Family Resilience Processes Family Communication ................................ ....................... 53 4 1 Descriptive Statistics: Child gender, child age ................................ ................................ .. 62 4 2 ................................ ................................ ...... 62 4 3 Descriptive Statistics: Family Type (P1FAMIL) ................................ ............................... 62 4 4 ...................... 62 4 5 Descriptive Statistics: Ho usehold Total and Number of Siblings in Household ............... 63 4 6 Descriptive Statistics: Non English Language Spoken to Child by Parent ....................... 63 4 7 Gender Differences in Reading and Approaches to Learning. ................................ .......... 64 4 8 T tests: Equality of Variance and Equality of Means (Reading & Approaches to Learning) ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................ 64 4 9 Correlation Matrix for Confirmatory Factor Analysis (Family Belief Systems Positive Outlook) ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 65 4 10 Correlation Matrix for Confirmatory Factor Analysis (Family Organizational Patterns Connectedness) ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 65 4 11 Correlation Matrix for Confirmatory Factor Analysis (Family Communication Open, Emotional Expression) ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 66 4 12 SEM: Factors and Variables in Family Resilience Processes Model ................................ 66 4 13 Reliability Statistics: Family Resilience Processes ................................ ............................ 67 4 14 Factor Regression: Tests of Model Fit ................................ ................................ ............... 67 4 15 Correlation Matrix for SEM (Family Resilience Processes) ................................ ............. 68 4 16 Factor Regressions: Approaches to Learning and Reading ................................ ............... 69

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9 4 17 Factor Regression: Family Resilience Processes on Reading ................................ ............ 70 4 18 Factor Regressions: Family Resilience Processes on Approaches to Learning ................. 71 4 19 Hypotheses Testing ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 72

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10 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 1 1 Construct model of variables ................................ ................................ ............................. 25 4 1 Structural equation model with fit modifications. *Bold face errors indicate structural component. e = error. ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 73 4 2 Factor Regressions. Estimate and standard error included ................................ ................ 74 4 3 Outcome Summary. ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 75

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11 LIST OF TERMS Academic Achievement Measure of student school success that is determined by standardized test sc ores (reading and math) (Schlee et al., 2009) Approaches to Learning Child behaviors inclusive of persistence on tasks, eagerness to learn, attentiveness, learning independence, flexibility, organization (Hair et al. 2006) Socio emotional Development adjustment to school (e.g. self control, social interactions, interpersonal, externalizing/intern alizing problem behavior) (Hair et al., 2006) Cultura lly Diverse Membership in a cultural group other than European American (Sue & Sue, 2003) Deficit based Theoretical Perspectives Problem saturated theoretical approaches to research (Walsh, 2012) Family Belief Systems A subcategory of key processes in family resilience that includes making meaning of adversity, positive outlook and transcendence/spirituality (Walsh, 2012) Family Communication A subcategory within the key processes of family resilience that includes clear/consistent messages, open emo tional expression, collaborative problem solving (Walsh, 2012) Family Organizational Patterns A subcategory of the key processes in family resilience that includes flexibility, connectedness, and social/economic resources (Walsh, 2012) Family Processes Various ways in which a family unit organizes, interacts, and maintain s beliefs (Walsh, 2012) Family Resilience Processes when faced with serious life challenges (Walsh, 2012) Parent child Relationship Characteristic interactions between parent and child. Indicators include family routines, discipline style, and parental emotional warmth (Brooks Gunn & Markman, 2005) Poverty Total family income is less than the family's ability to meet basic needs

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12 Reading Achievement inclusive of letter recognition, beginning sounds, conventions of print, story knowledge, alphabet, early r eading, a nd early writing (Hair et al., 2006) Resilience The ability to withstand and recover from difficult life challenges (Walsh, 2003) Social Marginalization I ndividuals experiencing unequal access to opportunities, institutional oppression because of culture, gender, or socioeconomic status (Framm et al., 2007) Socioeconomic Status Measure based on family income level, parental occupational status and parental education level (Bradley & Corwyn, 2002)

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13 Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Grad uate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy FAMILY RESILIENCE PROCESSES PREDICTING LOW INCOME KINDERGARTEN MENT By Kacy A. Mixon December 2013 Chair: Ellen S. Amatea Major: Marriage and Family Counseling The purpose of this study was to use a family resilience theoretical perspective to identify three resilience factors in low income families that influence data from 3 066 low income families from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study Kindergarten (ECLS K) database, relationships among indicators of three family resilience processes (i.e. family belief systems, family organ izational patterns, and family communication) total ECLS study sample were reported. Significant differences by gender were reported for approaches to learning and the family organization process of conne ctedness significantly Although findings (i.e. confirmatory factor analysis, reliability, fix indexes) revealed that the hypothesized model showed promise for measuring the relationsh ips between family resilience processes, reading and

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14 Implications for research, theory and practice are discussed.

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15 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION In 2010, 16.4 million children in the United States were considered poor and, of those, 7.4 million lived in extreme Defense Fund, 2012). The number of s chool aged children living in poverty increased from 15% t o 19% between 2000 and 2010 and more than one million homeless children enrolled in the public schools during the 2010 2011 school tely, 32 % of children who live in poverty for more than half of their lives do not graduate from high school Moreover, the achievement gaps between high and low income children in the current generation are 30 to 40 % greater than one generation ense Fund, 2012). There is now a considerable body of research showing that poverty has a powerful effect on academic achievement (Rumberger, 1995; Schlee, Mullis & Shriner 2009). It is well documented that many children living in poverty experience poor academic achievement when compared to children living in families with higher income (Bradley & Corwyn, 2002; Duncan & Magnuson, 2005; Hair, Halle, Terry Humen, Lavelle, & Calkins, 2006 ; Hopson & Lee, 2011; Leventhal Fauth, & Brooks Gunn, 2005). R esearch ers have reported significant relationships between and their external environmental circumstances and family context Specific factors associated wit h low inc c ommunity environments (Church, Jaggers, & Taylor, 2012; Leventhal et al. 2005 ), parent child relationship dynamics ( Bodovski & Youn, 2010; Connell & Prinz, 2002; Cheadle & Amato, 2011 ; Coplan, Hastings, L agace Seguin, & Moulton, 2002; Lunkenheimer, Shields, & Cortina, 2007; Morrison, Rimm Kauffman, & Pianta, 2003) parental social support ( Kalil & Ryan, 2010 ; Marshal, Noonan, Mcartney, Marx, & Keefe, 2001; Moran & Ghate, 2005), and parent school relationship ( Horvat, Weininger, & Lareau, 2003; Jeynes, 2005; Lott, 2001)

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16 Approaches to Learning Children learn how to manage their emotions through observation, modeling, and social referencing ( Morris, Silk, Steinberg, Myers, & Robin son, 2007) experienced in their home, school, and community contexts. Researchers have reported significant a ssociations between the and which is conceptualized as characteristics and behaviors children display while engaging in learning (Br ooks Gunn & Markman, 2005; Hair et al., 2006). Researchers have also reported and s chool readiness factors (Brooks eagerness to learn, attentiveness, learning independence, flexibility, and organization have also al skills in mat h and reading (Fantuzzo, Bulotski Shearer, McDermott, McWayne, Frye, & Perlman 2007 ; Li Gining, Votruba Drzal, Maldonado Carrelflo, & Haas, 2010 ). Furthermore, researchers have found that socioeconomic resources (i.e. family income, parental education, ne ighborhood conditions) appear to directly influenc e as well as the achievement tests scores of young children ( Duncan & Magnuson, 2005) Reading Achievement The initiation of Title I of the Elementary an d Secondary Educa tion Act in 1965 focused the attention on low income chil (Kainz & Vernon Feagans, 2007). an ecological literacy lens in which multiple influences (i.e. fa mily literacy, classroom literacy, school/community literacy) interact to propel children forward in their reading development (Kainz & Vernon Feagans, 2007).

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17 The literature indicates that early parent child interactions (prior to kindergarten) are strong predictors of low development (Dodici, Draper, & Peterson, 2003). Despite advances in ecological reading theory development, research studies looking at low income children reading achievement from this theoretical framework a re limited However, in a study examining reading achievement and socioeconomic status, Kainz and Vernon Feagans (2007), reported significant relationship s among child and f amily variables (i.e. age at kindergarten, persistent low income, pa rent education, family literacy reading skills in Kindergarten that varied by school variables (suburban location, economic segregation, minority segregation) rather than across grade level s. Theoretical Framework Most of the research examining the relat and low anchored in a deficit based perspective in which researchers have looked exclusively at low deficiencies or flaws. Such r esearch efforts fail to consi der the particular life contexts of low income families or emphasize what they are doing well in shaping child learning outcomes ( Horvat et al. 2003 ; Jeynes, 2011 ). Proponents of more culturally responsive research approaches have argue d that examini ng issues associated with school achievement using research frameworks that do not consider the larger external influences (i.e. family, community) only capture surface issues connected to student underachievement and socio emoti onal outcomes (Bradley & Corwy n, 2002; Shealey, 2006). Furthermore, Bradley and Corwyn (2002) argue that literature on low income families and child well process context this muddled representation, the authors contend, can be attributed to low income families struggling with contextual factors or circumstances (e.g. immigrant status, single family homes, disabled family members, etc.) that are known to affect

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18 children. Th us, much of research on child well being (i.e. health, socio emotional development, cognitive and academic attainment) has failed to disentangle the influence of family and community factors from the influences of poverty. T here is however, a growing emph asis in the mental and physical health fields and in the education field on focus ing on client and family strengths ( Anderson, 1997; Herth, 19 90; Hubble, Duncan, & Miller, 1999; Miller, Duncan, Hubble, 1997; Sprenkle & Blow, 2004; Vellone Rega, Gall etti, & Cohen, 2006; Walsh, 2012). For instance, researchers in the nursing profession have found hope to be an important factor affecting cancer patients coping perceived control, and psychological adjustment ( Vellone et al., 2006). Furthermore, restorative f actors, such as hope and client expectancy, have been reported to contribute at least 15% of the variance explaining counseling and treatment outcomes (Hubble, et al, 1999 ; Lamber t 1992; Mille r, et al, 1997 ) Within the family therapy field, identifying a nd utilizing family strengths is a common theme to gain insight on the possibilities for change (Anderson, 1997). Extra therapeutic, factors environment, and chance events have been shown to account for 40% of the variance in treatment outcomes (Hubble, et al, 1999 ; Lam bert, 1992; Miller, et al, 1997 ) and have been reported as the strongest factor influenci ng effective therapeutic outcomes ( Hubble, et al, 1999 ; Miller, et al, 1997 ) Thus, loo the possibilities for client change or healing. Within the field of education, research reveals that focusing on family strengths influences successful school fam ily interaction s. According to Amatea, Mixon, and McCarthy (2013), when educators look for areas of strength within families it allows for a positive shift in For example, utilizing a strength based lens when

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19 understanding and approaching school problems allows for less judgment in that the focus is not or family funds of knowledge (Moll & Gonzalez, 2004) that can be built upon to create possible solutions (Ama tea et al., 2013). This perspective also facilitates an environment in which school personnel shift from an families and school personnel partner in develop ing solutions for the best interest of the child. Thus, school personnel utilizing a strength partners with their own unique strengths and contributions to the et al., 2013, p. 1) creates greater possibilities for academic achievement as it incorporates the notion that families are an integral part of children reaching their academic potential. Researchers have also focused on identifying the risk factors, protective factors, and turning points influencing individual development and well being For example Fraser, Kirby and Smokowski (2004) define the con a life altering event that alters an individ They hypothesized that turning point effects would directly alter risk factors in that they would have the potential to introduce new possibilities into the way one views their present situation. To explain the variation in individual responses to similar stressful situations, research ers formulated the concept of personal resilience (Fraser, et al 2004; Rutter, 2006). Res ilience researchers initially focused on traits or characteristics inherent in individuals ( Werner, 1995 ) However, the concept of resil ience evolved to depict resilience as a dynamic process encompassing risk and protective factors experienced by individuals and influenced by the various relational contexts in which individuals are embedded (i.e. time, interpersonal relationships, socioec onomic status, cultural influences ) (Walsh, 2012). Thus rather than view resilience as a characteristic inherent within an individual,

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20 resilience is now viewed as occurring in interactions one has with in various relational contexts such as families (Rutte r, 2006). In contrast to earl y resilience research, which often studied how dysfunctional families contributed to individual risk (Walsh, 2012), recent researchers have begun to examine the positive ways that families respond to adverse circumstances, suc h as poverty. For example, a current trend in the research literature has been to identify certain aspects of family functioning such as family beliefs, role structure s and communication patterns that characterize resilient families (Walsh, 2003). Utilizin g a strength based approach to discover what low income families are doing well despite these various factors can combat the limitations of deficit oriented research lens to predict and influence child outcomes. Additionally, this type of research lens can effectively contribute to family school engagement initiatives that promote academic success by promoting more inclusive practices. Supporters of a more culturally responsive examination of low e suggest utilizing a family resilience framework (Amatea, Smith Adcock, & Villares, 2006) to capture what families are doing well. Proponents of culturally responsive research frameworks looking at marginalized populations, such as families in poverty, a rgue that examining issues associated with school achievement from research frameworks that do not consider larger external influences (i.e. family, community) will only capture surface issues connected to student underachievement (Shealey, 2006). Furtherm ore, there is a need for researchers examining socially marginalized populations to utilize strength based approaches in efforts to effectively contribute to family school engagement initiatives that promote academic success.

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21 Research rooted in a family r esilience theory provides a lens to describe the family interactional processes and contextual factors that influence child and family outcomes (Walsh, 2003) growth when faced with serious life struggles (Walsh, 2012; Walsh, 2003). This theoretical stress and vulnerability in high risk situations, foster healing and growt h out of crisis, and shaped by over 30 years of social science research examining variables associated with resilience. ous struggle. Thus, a family resilience framework provides a deeper understanding of both the constraints and possibilities embedded within families In addition, a family resilience framework can provide a holistic view of both the adverse situation and Furthermore, this framework can provide us with a more inclusive view of the impact of the larger social s ystems in which families are embedded. Wa heory provides a comp limentary strength based lens grounded in a deep conviction in the potential of all families to gain resilience and positive t is a framework that fuses ecological and developmental perspectives to view family processes in relationship not only to larger sociocultural contexts but broade r, more systemic view of families is necessary in efforts to bring: Attention to the entire relational network, identifying potential resources for resilience in the immediate and extended family. Positive contributions might be made by siblings parents, and other caregivers, spouse or partners, grandparents

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22 and resilience can be found ( Walsh, 2012, p 401) Need for the Study Family dynamics, specifically parent child interac educational and socio emotional development (Bodovski & Youn, 2010). Past research examining family influences has focused on surface demographics such as parent occupation, education and fa mily size (Hair et al., 200 6). Current research now looks at parent child relationships such as family parenting styles inherent in families and their impact on school achievement. For instance, there is a growing body of literature looking at parenting processes and parent child in teractions in low income families and its impact on school outcomes (Bodovski, 2010 ; Cheadle & Amato 2011; Heymann, & Earie, 2000). As new research findings emerge, it becomes apparent that the lens through which we are looking at parental influence (pare ntal context, parent child relationship, family school based perspective. Expanding research to explore family processes (i.e. beliefs, relational dynamics, expectations) that influence school success, and contextual influences ( i.e. social resources, family beliefs, etc. ) that shape family flexibility might shed more light on the complexities associated with low income family circumstances and child school outcomes. A more exhaustive and strength based picture of what influences the context surrounding low income families inclusive of belief systems, organization patterns and communication/problem solving -affecting school achievement may assist in schools being better equipped to develop family involvement strategies that better support Exploring family circumstances from a strength based perspective is a recent trend in literature in volving researchers focusing on family resilience or t he ability for families to

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23 withstand and recover from difficult life challenges (Walsh, 2003) Commonly explored in resilience research is a focus on f amily beliefs, organization and communication (Wal sh, 2003). However, researchers often look at just one of these areas. What is missing from the literature is a broader view of the resources that the families have and draw from to promote resilient responses to adverse circumstances, such as poverty. Add itionally, literature reveals focus on paren ting styles and school outcomes as well as family processes and school outcomes b ut not on family social resources and interactional patterns constructed by families that may impact school outcomes. This study e xamine d low income families resilience processes that were hypothesized to school outcomes The ECLS K data provides ample opportunity to study family resilience processes that influence child school outcomes. This can also create ope nings for family practitioners and school counselors to expand their view of the familial processes that it can provide information useful for teachers and other school personnel to deepen their u nderstanding of family influences that Purpose of the Study The purpose of this study was to use a family resilience theoretical perspective to identify three resilience factors in low income families that mig ht Using the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study Kindergarten (ECLS K) database, the relationships among indicators of three family resilience processes ( i.e. family belief systems, family organizational patterns, and family communication ) outcomes were examined. It was theorized that the dependent variab le (reading achievement) would be impacted by the independent variable (family resilience processes). In addition, the variable, approaches to

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24 lea rning, would mediate the relationships between the independent variable s (family resilience processes) and the dependent variable (reading achievement). Research Question The following research question s were used to examine the variables of interest in the study (see Figure 1 1 ): 1. Are there differences by gender in low 2. Are there difference s by gender in low 3. What are the relations hip s among indicators of low income resilience processes (e.g. family belief systems, family organizational patterns, and family communication ) and 4. What are the relationships among indicators of low income families silience processes (e.g. family belief systems, family organizational patterns, and family communication ) and Overview of the Study Chapter 1 provide s not only an introduct ion to the sc ope of the problem but also the topic of this study and the theoretical framework used to explore the topic. Chapter 2 provide s a review of the literature related to this topic. Chapter 3 detail s the methodology for the study inclusive of the use of second ary data and research design. Chapter 4 presents the results of hypothesis testing and Chapter 5 discusses these results and their implications for future research and professional practice.

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25 Figure 1 1. Construct model of variables

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26 CHAPTER 2 REVIEW OF LITERATURE The following literature review provides an overview of the findings of researchers who have assessed the influence of specific family characteristics from a deficit based perspective or a resilience ba sed perspective First, the findings of researchers using a deficit based perspective are presented. Then the findings from researchers utilizing a family resilience perspective are described. Within the resilience based perspective, research exploring sp is reported. Deficit based Family Research Much of the literature exploring the impact of low income families on child school outcomes is rooted in a deficit based perspective in whic h the deficiencies in these familie s are highlighted. The following section describes the findings from research examining the influence : (a) the external context of the family, (b) the dynamics or (c) parental wel l being. One trend in the literature has been to explore the relationships among external context (neighborhood influences, community services, etc.), their parenting practices, and child outcomes. Many of these studies only examine families with adolescents (Church, Wharton, & Taylor, 2009; Loeber & Farrington, 2000 ). However, t he Fragile Families and Child Well b eing Study (FFS) conducted by Church, et al. (2012), explored the relationships among neighborhood influences, poverty and negative child behaviors at two different five year periods in a younger child population by means of parent interviews using multiple sampling methods (phone, in person, field work). Using path analysis to assess the r elationships among variables

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27 these researchers reported that perceived parental aggravation ( i.e. being a parent is harder than I thought it would be; I feel trapped by my responsibilities, ) was significantly related ( p<.001 ) to problematic child behavior s and that neighborhood poverty was significantly related (p<.001) to parental aggravation. They concluded that these findings indicate over parent perceived aggravation, or non satisfaction in parenting and has a great effect on the behavior esearchers used the theoretical lens of social control theory (i.e. when group norms are violated, negative behavior occurs) and differential association theory (i.e. negative behavior is learned and forme d through social and cultural transmission) to explain their interpretation of the analyzed data. In another study, Sanbonmatsu, Kling, Duncan, and Brooks Gunn (2006) explored the impact of neighborhood influences on school achievement as indexed by scho ol test scores. living in subsidized housing with the opportunity to move to neighborhoods with lower levels of (n=4,248) participated in a randomized treatment experiment (control, experimental, and Section 8 treatment groups). Researchers examined whether neighborhood context directly affected school outcomes. Findings showed no est scores for any child age group (ranging from 6 20 years). Family Dynamics Family dynamics, specifically parent educational and socio emotional development (Bodovski & Youn, 2010). Although much of the early research examining family influences on child outcomes (Bradley & Corwyn, 2002; Hair et al., 2006) focused on general demographic characteristics or SES indicators (e.g. parent occupation, educational level or family size ) a growing body of researc h literature has examined specific aspects of the parent child relationship (i.e. parenting practices, parent child dynamics)

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28 in low ; Cheadle & Amato 2011; Heymann, & Earie, 200 0 ). Recently, researchers have explored the influence of the family emotional climate on Bodovski and Youn (2010) utilized structural equation modeling with the ECLS K data set to explore the relationship s among academic achievement and classroom behavior in a longitudinal study spanning from Kindergarten to 5 th grade. T he researchers operationalized family emotional climate as consisting of three variables: parental emotion al warmth, parental depression, and use of physical discipline These three variables were examined by race, ethnicity, and family structure to determin e their association with achievement. Findings demonstrated that when parental depression was present, t here was an increased likelihood that physical discipline would be used and parental warmth w ould be less likely to be pr esent. In addition, the study revealed a significant relationsh i p between parental depression when the child was in kindergarten and su bsequent low 5 th grade reading and math achievement in 5 th grade Differences in income levels, ethnicity, and family structure w ere also noted. For example, low income, African American parents who were single report ed more depressed symptoms than other i ncome and ethnic groups Moreover Asian parents were more likely to report less parental warmth and less use of physical discipline, whereas African American parents were more likely to report greater parental warmth with higher frequency of use of physic al discipline. Also, 5 th outcomes in reading, math, and approaches to learning were lower when parental depression indicators (i.e. weekly frequency that the respondent has depressed feelings, respondent feels respondent has feelings of sadness) were present.

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29 Parental Well Being Maternal depression has been reportedly linked to perceptions of maternal role and parenting practices (Murry Bynum, Body, Willert, & Stephens 2001). Yeung, Linver and Brooks Gunn (200 2) analyzed data (n=753 children) from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (Child Development Supplement) and reported that maternal emotional distress (economic chil d outcomes (significant at the p < .05 level). In anothe r study Linver, Brooks Gunn and Kohen (2002) explored potential mediating family factors (maternal emotional distress, maternal parenting styles and provision of cognitive stimulating activities) th at might influence child development outcomes. Using quantitative methodology, the researchers studie d 493 White and African American mothers with infants of low birth weight (considered premature), assessing cognitive abilities at age s 3 and 5. Findings showed that family environment ( i.e. parenting practices and providing cognitive stimulation in the home) had significant mediating effects on the relationship between income and child outcomes. This study provided a more complex view of the nature of the low income family context as it relates to child development and set a precedent for studying child outcomes over time. However, the theoretical framework (family stress model) guiding the research and measurements used may have limited a holistic view of the family environment. For example, measures were used to classify parenting types (authoritative and authoritarian), stemming from a euro centric view of appropriate parenting practices. Furthermore the measurement (The Home Learning combination scale) used to evaluate the home environment (or the degree to which families facilitated cognitive stimulating activities) included questions about parent child interactions that seemed to be shaped by the norms of the dominant culture which f ails to take into consideration cultural and family norms.

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30 Deficit based Research Limitations The growing body of research focusin g on the parenting practices and interactional processes of families living in poverty and how these factors influence low in come school outcomes ( Bodovski, 2010; Bodovski & Youn, 2010 ; Cheadle & Amato, 2011; Heymann, & Earie, 2000 ) still provide an incomplete picture Furthermore, attention has been placed on parent involvement in schools (Jeynes, 2011) and other co ntexts (community, extended family, friends, etc.) from which families in p overty may draw support (Church et al., 2012), however effective intervention strategies and policies directly influencing low income families have yet to become fully established and researched Although research has expanded, direct links between how low income families function remain unclear. If research on low income families is not carefully designed it may perpetuate existing stigmas. Furthermore, research initiatives utilizing language that categorizes impoverished can produce findings that are not fully representative of the example, the Fragile Families and Child Well being (FFS) research intiative (Reichman, Teitler, Garfinkel, & McLanahan, 2001) which studied 4700 couples (3600 unwed, 1100 married) aimed to provide information surrounding the c ircumstances of new, unmarried parents and their policies affect behaviors and circumstances surrounding these families. The research questions for this initiative do not directly target low income families; however, the objectives of the FFS study are to focus on unmarried families and on families receiving welfare. Although the aims of the study -to gain information for policy reform in order to increase fatherhoo d involvement, healthy family interactions, and financial security --are well intended, the assumptions guiding

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31 this research agenda are rooted in deficit based and outdated assumptions (e.g. the nuclear family form is supreme) about what is needed for ch ildren to thrive. These foundational assumptions fail to incorporate not only decades of research highlighting positive outcomes within alternative family forms (LGBT families, single parent families), but they also fail to address elements, such as domest being even in traditional nuclear family households. As new research findings emerge, it becomes apparent that the lens through which we are looking at influence ( e.g. family processes, parenting, and family school may be too narrow Duncan and Magnuson (2005) discuss the need to examine not only how socioeconomic status is measured in child school outcome research but also how such research findings can inform policies directly affecting low income children. The authors account for various approaches use prestige that derive from access indicator (occupation) or combined indicators (e.g. parental education and occupation). These authors propose a multidimensional approach that utilizes various components of SES based on se that various socioeconomic resources contribute to social inequality and components of SES (i.e. income, education, family structure, and neighborhood ) affect children in different ways. For instance, a child in a low income family with one caregiver, who has not completed high school and works two jobs, with little community support, can experience poverty differently from a child who lives in a low income, mul tigenerational household with

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32 strong positive community ties and family members who have completed at least 2 years of college. The authors further assert: Accounting studies find that differences in socioeconomic status explain about half a standard dev iation of the initial achievement gaps. But because none of the accounting studies are able to adjust for a full set of genetic and other confounding causes of achievement, we regard them as providing upper bound estimates of the role of family socioeconom ic status (p. 40) Duncan and Magnuson (2005) open the door to an approach to measuring SES that is more inclusive of various low income family experiences, e xpanding research even further to explore relational processes influencing families such as family belief systems, organization patterns and communication and problem solving practices -would provide a broader lens for examining the complexities of low income familie s influe nces on child school outcomes. Moreover, an exhaus tive, resilience based pictu re of influences a ffecting low s chool achievement may assist schools in develop ing family involvement strategies that better support students While it can be argued that there is substantial research utilizing resilience theory approache s when looking at poverty and child outcomes ( Fraser, 2004), not all resilience based approaches include aspects of larger societal and generational influence s Furthermore, traditional resilience theories focus on traits inherent in individuals rather tha n in the family as a whole Thus what has been missing from these conceptualizations is the recognition of the interconnection between family resilience factors in low income families and child school outcomes. Resilience based Family Research Literature reveals a focus on parenting styles and school outcomes, but not on self constructed family processes that can impact school outcomes. Walsh (2012) sees the family as active participants in constructing their external environment. For instance, family bel iefs shape how they interact with the outside world and are one aspect of family resilience processes

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33 allows for a more strength based view as it assumes that fam ily members have an active role in constructing the external environment instead of viewing it as linear or uni directional. Family resilience theory, unlike other resilience models, focuses on common family interactional processes depicted by responses am ong families experiencing adversity while also being mindful of the uniqueness (perspectives, challenges, and resources ) within families. (Walsh, 2012; 2003) A family resilience framework can protect researchers from exclusively seeing low income families as impaired. Instead, researchers can view families as confronted by struggle and having the potential to overcome adversity. T hree types of family proces ses have been observed in resilient families : (a) family belief systems, (b) family organizational pa tterns, and (c) family communication and problem solving practices (Walsh, 2012 ). Family belief systems encompass three areas: (a) m aking meaning of adversity, (b) positive outlook, and (c) transcendence and spirituality Family organizational patterns are defined in terms of: (a) family flexibility, (b) connectedness, and (c) social and economic resource s. Walsh describes family communication and problem solving practices as families demonstrating: (a) c lear, consistent messages, (b) open emotional ex pression and (c) collaborative problem solving (Walsh, 2012 ). To f urther support the need for a theoretical framework for describing relevant family processes, one can look at the research of Lansford, Ceballo, Abbey, and Steward (2001). These resear chers utilized the National Survey of Families and Households database (799 families participating) to assess the relationships among family processes, parent al well being, and child well being a mong families differing in their structure (single parent, bl ended, adoptive and two

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34 biological parent households). R esults of the study revealed that family processes were a much better predictor of parental and child well being than family structure alone. Belief Systems Wright and Bell (2009) assert that family b elief systems have a powerful influence on how family members view adversity. Furthermore, Walsh (2012) asserts that constructions of reality, influenced by multigenerational, cultural, and spiritual beliefs, emerge through family and social trans 407). The following section expands on each of the three aspects of family beliefs proposed by Walsh. Positive outlook. One aspect of family resilience theory included within the overarching factor of family beliefs is positive outlook. Walsh (2012) asserts that hope is an important s that are limiting and offers positive neurophysiological effects when dealing with stress. A c ommon practice in the medical community wh hope can be defined as an (Herth, 1990, p. 1250). Furthermore, family therapists and other psychotherapy profession als have found it useful to utilize interventions that en hance positive outlook (positive psychology, strength based therapy) when working with families strugg ling with adverse circumstances. For example, positive psychology t works, what is right, and what is creates opportunity for clinicians to develop more strength oriented perspectives surrounding client struggles. Families considered to be well functioning have been found to hold beliefs that embrace positive views of life circumstances ( Beavers & Hampson, 2003 ) and are seen as having a sense of wellness being in which mind, body, and spirit are integrated by t (Myers, Sweeney, & Witmer,

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35 2000, p. 252). Thus, wellness in research commonly include s measures that require participant self appraisal of not only their sense of well being ( e.g. 5F Wel A) ( Hattie, Myers, & Sweeney, 2004) but also participant perceptions about how they see themselves influencing their own circumstances. Relating to family processes, it can be argued that, in addition to whatever adversity family experience, the ways in which families evaluate thei r own well being is evidence of level of resilience. Transcendence and spirituality. Walsh (2012) asserts that more often than not, s with their cultural and spiritual tradi tions, especially those facing barriers (p. 409). Pearce and Axin (1998) reported that religion was influential in improving the parent child bond for mothers. Other rese archers have shown its influential e ffect on father chi ld relationships (Smith & Kim, 2003). Researchers Bartkowski, Xu and Levin (2008) assert that both religion and spirituality seem to play an important role in family dynamics. However, it is unclear how this construct affects the development of y oung child ren. Thus, Bartkowski, et al. (2008) explored circu mstances in which religiosity promote d or undermine d the emotional adjustment and social competence of children. They utilized the ECLS K data to operationa lize religion/spirituality as es within a household that influences relationships opposed to a more traditional way of researching this variable in individual reports of parental religiosity. Findings revealed no significant relationships between discussions self control. However, these researchers did report that c hildren who attend ed religious services with mothers more often than with fathers showed indications of greater s elf control.

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36 Furthermore, children whose parents attended religious services were shown to demonstrate higher social skills within the home. Social Indicators Research aimed to descr ibe how longitudinal indicators attitude, or value that is measured consistently or comparably across multiple points in time and 57) -could be conceptualized and developed to provide more in depth assessments of family experiences. The authors included examples of sound longitudinal indicators (i.e. chronic poverty physical health) that are simple to operationalize because they hin der well being. The authors, however, caution researching the construct of reli giosity or spirituality as it can be controversial in terms of how it is operationalized For example, operationalization may stem from culturally specific additio n, the absence of this construct within families well being Even more, t he articulate instances in which extreme forms of religiosity can impair chi development (cults, fa naticism) belief systems as a subcategory within family resilience factors, the author s, Moore and Vandivere (2007) suggest coupling religiosity with alternative p ositive indicators (i.e. cultural traditions). It may be argued that research studying how families culturally socialize their children has typically focused on older cohorts (i.e. adolescents young adults) and may not shed insight into the experiences of families with younger children. However, Lesane Brown, Brown, Tanner Smith and Bruce (2010) reported meaningful findings in their ECLS K study exploring how often families socialize to cultural heritage (race/ethnicity) at a young age. Consistent with

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37 fin dings of ethnic stratification, White families do not socialize their children as much as their non White (Black, Hispanic, Asian, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, American Indian, multiracial) counterparts. Thus, this indicator, if further researched cou ld provide further insight into the relationship between family resilience factors inclusive of cultural heritage socialization and child school outcomes. Family Organizational Patterns settings, and other social systems can be seen as nested contexts for nurturing and reinforcing The following expands on the organizational patterns proposed by Walsh. Connectedness. able to provide. Furthermore, despite facing struggles, there are poor families that build and maintain strong ties that influence academic achiev ement. Exploring family resilience processes as they relate to social and economic resources requires an understanding of a concept called social capital. capital or the various is of research exploring family structure, maternal well being, child development outcomes, parenting processes, and African American single mothers et al. (2001) highlight that a disconnect from economic and social resources, often faced by this population, exacerbate s Mar shall, Noonan, McCartney, Marx, and Keefe (2001) utilize a popular African adage in their article titled It Takes an Urban Village: Parenting Networks of Urban Families to emphasize the supportive relational networks common in families living in urban area s. Researchers used a sample of 206 African American, Hispanic and European American families

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38 with elementary aged school children to explore parental social networks (family, friends, and neighbors ). Utilizing multiple regression analysis, they found that these social networks have emotional outcomes when moderated by parenting behaviors (warmth and responsiveness; providing cognitive stimulation for children) an d efficacy (ability to cope when raising children). Social networks and economic resources. It is readily known that parental involvement Anderson, 2000; Barnard, 2004 ; Epste in, 1990; Epstein & Dauber, 1991; Jeynes, 2011). Research focusing on culturally diverse famil ies has demonstrated the various ways that parent involvement can occur (Bouffard, Bridgall, & Weiss, 2008). Traditional school involvement practices (such as att ending parent teacher conferences, attendance in PTA meetings, volunteering, etc.) are more typical for European American (or euro centric) and higher SES groups. Hence, family school involvement practices that neglect to take into consideration effective ways that culturally diverse and low famili Caspe, Traub, & Little, 2002; Horvat et al. 2003 ; Lareau, 2000 ). School personnel and researchers often misinterpret non learning as parental indifference (Ga y, 2000). Low income parents, in particular, are vulnerable to social marginalization in schools. For instance, Lott (2001 ) has reported that the social marginalizatio n experienced by many low income families was perpetuated when school personnel subscribe d to a belief that low income parents care d education and fail ed to engage in traditional school involvement activities. Additionally, it is common for low income parents to experience intimidation and disrespect when intera cting with

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39 schools (Bloom, 2001; Lareau, 2000; Lareau, 2003) These create disconnected family school relationships and eliminate school as an avenue for families to use as a resource. study of low l involvement argues that due to increased family de mands and adverse circumstances low income mothers are unable to subscribe to normative mothering roles that are expected by schoo ls. The author also note d that mothers living in poverty often do not have access to the same skills and resources that middle class mothers with traditional school involvement practices have and the task of school based family involvement, without such re sources (i.e. emotional well being, flexible schedules, financial stability, a sense of entitle ment to be involved in schools) can prove to be very demanding. Thus, the researcher engaged in an ethnographic study exploring the implementation of an advocacy plan that a group of single, low income mothers implemented via involvement with a community based organization. Findings revealed that mothers in the study hoped to improve what they perceived to be extremely strained relationships between home and schoo l interactions. Family Communication situations, encouraging open emotional sharing, and fostering collaborative problems solving and 412). Emotional expression and communication patterns can look quite different among families. Thus, cultural norms, influenced by family circumstances, community environment, culture/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, etc., vary from family to family. Open emotional expression. Walsh (2012) asserts that openness within the dynamics of family and parent child communication processes (i.e. trust, empathy, and tolerance for differences) can soften the effects of chronic family stressors. Proponents of more cul turally

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40 integrative measures for assessing the benefits of differing parenting styles argue that the benefits of an authoritative parenting strategy seen in W hite, middle class families do not necessarily generalize to lower income, culturally diverse fami ly populations ( Gray & Steinberg, 1999 ; Murry et al., 2001 ). For instance, community or neighborhood dangers and/or negative peer influence are factors that do not influence White, middle class families to the same extent as they do their marginalized coun terparts. Murry, et al. (2001) argue that parenting practices, often for low income African American parents, necessitate adapting parenting practices (i.e. authoritarian) to fit the circumstances in which they are embedded in efforts to protect their chil dren from harm. However, the ways in which the construct (authoritarian parenting style) is measured may not reflect the actual open emotional expression that does take place within low income families. Clark (1983) shows that many low income urban familie s demonstrate positive verbal and non verbal appraisals within family interactions. Furthermore, research aimed at exploring nurturing conversations ( Conger & Conger, 2002) and empathy between members ( Conger & Elder, 1 994) of low income families has been shown to influence student success. Conclusion education tend to discount the ways that marginalized families are engaged in (i.e. providing nurturance, instilling tr (Bower & Griffin 2011). Thus, a more exhaustive and strength based picture of how family processes influence school achievement is needed. A research lens rooted in family resilience theory r efrains from seeing families as impaired. I nstead, this perspective looks at families as confronted by struggle and having the potential to overcome adversity by focusing on effective family processes and resources embedded in families.

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41 Studies utilizi ng a family resilience framework can protect against further marginalization of low income family populations by providing a broader understan ding of family resilience factors in low income families. Research looking at family resilience factors that posit ively influence child school outcomes can assist in schools being better equipped to develop family involvement strategies that better support parent child relationships. Consequently, this information can shape how schools define family involvement to be more inclusive of low income families and create opportunit ies for family practitioners and school counselors to expand their view of the familial processes in efforts to build and promote family resilience.

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42 CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY This study explore s the im pact of low resilience processes on approaches to learning and reading achievement. The purpose of this chapter is to provide an overview of the methodology utilized in the study including a description of the setting, participa nts, variables, instrumentation, data collection and data analysis. The impact s of the following family resilience variables were assessed: a) family belief systems, b) family organizational patterns, and c) family communication practices In addition, indicators of were assessed to determine whether they had a mediating effect on the relationships among family resilience processes and reading achievement. Design of the Study This study utilize d a multivaria te design to assess the contribution of several family outcomes. D ata from The Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, kindergarten Class of 1998 1999 (ECLS K) was used in the study This is a data set collected by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) following the same children from kindergarten through the 8 th w as collected. In addition, information connected to student family, school, and classroom environment was gathered. The ECLS K was designed to gain information surrounding three areas inclusive of schooling and performance, status and transitions, and the interaction of school, family, and community. Evaluators, trained to assess children in school, collected

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43 Information collected from school personnel (i.e. teachers, ad ministrators) was conducted through questionnaires administered at their respective schools. This particular data set was chosen for a number of reasons. First it has a large sample size that meets the requirements necessary to perform structural equation modeling despite selecting a subset (children in poverty) of the overall participant population. Secondly, the data set was readily available to the public. Furthermore, the ECLS K data allows for longitudinal analysis. Also, it is commonly used in educat ion research. Though this study does not use the data set in this capacity, it provided opportunities to b egin to examine family variables at the base started developing another data set by gathering data from a recent cohort of kindergarten children who will be follow ed throughout grade school. However, this more recent data set is not longitudinal which would make it hard to begin to establish the links between family resilience and childre school performance over time. Thus, this study provides a baseline for which future research endeavors can build upon. This study theorize d that the dependent variable (reading achievement) would be impacted by the independent variable s (family resili ence processes). In addition, the variable, approaches to learning, was theorized to mediate the relationships between the independent variable s (family resilience processes) and the dependent variable (reading achievement). Gender difference s in reading a chievement and approaches to learning in the study sample were also examined. Definitions of Variables The variables used for the study were : family resilience processes (i.e. family belief systems, family organizational patterns, family communication) approaches to learning, and reading achievement. Operational definitions of the variables include:

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44 when faced with serious life challenges based on families sel f report Subcategories for this variable include: a) Belief Systems: A subcategory of key processes in family resilience that includes making meaning of adversity, positive outlook and transcendence/spirituality. Latent variable comprised of observable indic ators from parent surveys b) Organizational Patterns: A subcategory of the key processes in family resilience that includes flexibility, connectedness, and social/economic resources. Latent variable comprised of observable indicators from parent surveys c) Comm unication: A subcategory within the key processes of family resilience that includes clear/consistent messages, open emotional expression, collaborative problem solving. Latent variable comprised of observable indicators from parent surveys Approaches to L earning: Child behaviors inclusive of persistence on tasks, eagerness to learn, attentiveness, learning independ ence, flexibility, organization wledge of language and literac y Gender: Measure indicating identification as female or male Race : Measure indicating me mbership into a cultural group Families in Poverty : Measure used to determine participants that qualify under the federal poverty level based on family income at the time of data collection Participants The participants for the ECLS K longitudinal study consisted of a sample of 17,219 first time kindergarten students (from both public and private schools). The students belonged to a nationally representative cohort of children attending kindergarten during the 1998 1999 school year. Students were surveyed as well as their parents, teachers, and other school personnel. This study examined data collected for the kindergarten students in the 1998 1999 school year. This st udy include d studen ts whose family income qualified as in poverty based upon the federal poverty level income standards (i.e. an income level less than or equal to $18,4 00 for a family of four ) (Gershoff, 2001) The total number of participants in the data set whose families fell in this poverty level category was 3 066

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45 Inclusion and A ccessibility A distinctive feature of the ECLS K data set was that it oversampled Hispanic, Asian and Pacific Islander children ( NCES, 2001 ). The ECLS K researchers develope d protocol s and materials that maximized inclusion of children and their families whose primary language was not English (i.e. translating assessments/interviews, use of translators, etc.). Interviews with parents who spoke languages other than English wer e conducted by translating the parent questionnaire into Spanish, Chinese, Lakota, and Hmong (NCES, 2001). In addition, the data collection process accommodated child ren with special needs and their respective families. However, children requiring Braille or sign language and children who had Individualized Education Plans/Individualized Family Service Plans indicating they should not be assessed were excluded from the child assessments. Participant Incentives The ECLS K researchers gave various incentives to participants upon completion of their respective survey or assessment. Kindergarten child participants were given an ECLS K incentive of a multicolored pencil upon completion of assessments. Parents were mailed a thank you letter as well as a copy of a Department of E ducation publication related to educational activities for families. Teachers who completed child level questionnaires in the fall received $5 and $7 for completed questionnaires in the spring. Schools received $100 and $5 for every complet ed student abstract or demographic information. Instrumentation For the purposes of this study, data collected from direct child assessments, parent interviews, and teacher questionnaires from the ECLS K Fall 1998 Kindergarten were used. Various e xisting demographic variables from the ECLS K data were util ized. For instance, gender, race poverty and other variables connected to participant demographics were used Also

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46 utilize d were data approaches to learning scale and reading assessment. Selected i tems from the parent survey were used to assess family resilience processes. Copies and detailed descriptions of nearly all measures used are provided by the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) on the ECLS K website at http://nces.ed.gov/ecls/ Details surrounding variable descriptions are provided by the Regents of the University of Michigan on the Research Connections website at http://www.researchconnections.org/childcare/ssvd/ studies/28023/variables Approaches to Learning S cale s The Approa ches to Learning scales included items comprised of parent and teacher questionnaires from the ECLS K Fall 1998 data. The facets of this construct include: a) persistence at tasks, b) eagerness to learn, c) attentiveness, d) learning independence, e) flexibility, and f) organization. This measurement, developed by NCES, has reported reliabilities rangin g from .8 to .9. Although the measure is based on teacher judgments, previous studies have used these measures and indicated both validity and reliability (Bodovski & Farkas, 2008; Tach & Farkas, 2006). Teacher rating. In the teacher interview, respondents were asked to indicate how frequently the child exhibited the following behaviors or characteristics. The response scale 7 = no a) Keeps belongings organized b) Show s eagerness to learn new things c) Works independently d) Easily adapts to changes in routine e) Persists in completing tasks f ) Pays attention well. This subscale was created only if there were valid data on at least 4 of the 6 of the items. The subscale score is computed as the mean of the items comprising the score

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47 Parent rating. The ECLS K approaches to l earning subscale was c reated and used only if there were valid data on at least 4 of the 6 of t he items. The subscale score is computed as the mean of the ite ms comprising the score. P arent s indicated how frequently the child exhibited the following behaviors or characteristics something until {he/she} is finished? b) Show i nterest in a variety of things? c) Concentrate on a task and ignore distractions? d) Help with chores? e) Eager to learn new things? f) Creative in work or in play? This subscale was created only if there were valid data on at least 4 of the 6 of the items. Reading Assessment The reading test used to comprise this v ariable involves a direct child assessment providing information connected to outcomes. For the 1998 1999 kindergarten asse ssment, this instrument provides information about general knowledge in language and liter acy The items on this instrument were developed based on the recommendations from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reading framework, literacy curriculum consultants, outcomes of kindergarten focus groups and teacher reviewers. Readi ng achievement will be measured using scale scores based off of Item Response Theory (IRT) for the fall kindergarten assessment. Family Resilience Processes The independent variable, family resilience processes, was constructed through indicators within three subcategories : a) family beliefs systems, b) family organizational patterns c) family co mmunication processes sh, 2003). The ECLS K Fall 1998 data set contained ques tions indexing the three key processes in family resilience. Although

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48 the data set did not have questions that assessed indicate four of th e nine subcategories, items in the data set were used to assess the remaining five subsection (positive outlook, transcendence and spirituality, connectedness, social and economic resources, open emotional expression) within each key process category (i.e. family belief systems, family organizational patterns, family communication) Thus, this study aims to utilize the data that does connect to the remaining five subsections (positive outlook, transcendence and spirituality, connectedness, social and economic resources, open emotional ex pression) within each key process category (i.e. family belief systems, family organizational patterns, family communication). Table 3 1 through Table 3 3 outline the parent questionnaire items that correspond to each of the subcategories that comprise th e family resilience processes model. The directionality of the answers to survey items are indicated within the contents of these 3 tables. Two of the subcategories, belief systems and organizational patterns were further divided into subsections and conne divided into two categories (positive outlook and transcendence/spirituality) and parental questionnaire indicators connecting to those subsections are listed in Table 3 1. Scores for the following constructs, a) family belief systems, b) family organizational patterns, c) family communication, were then evaluated using factor analysis to determine if the individual items composing each of the construct scores were asso ciated with its underlying construct. The following constructs, a) family belief systems, b) family organizational patterns, c) family communication, will be evaluated to determine if the construct can be conceptualized as components of family resilience f actors. Data Collection Procedures Data collection for the ECLS K for kindergarten questionnaires began in fall 1998 and continued in spring of 1999. Data from parent interviews was collected in fall and spring of the

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49 1998 99 school year. Variable names 9 (See tables 3 1, 3 2, and 3 4 ). Teacher interviews were collected in spring 1999 as well as child assessment data (reading and appro aches to learning) The information for the data set was collected utilizing various methods including: one on one assessments, computer assisted telephone interviews (e.g. CATI), and self administered questionnaires. The parent interviews consisted of a 4 5 50 minute interview conducted by a trained interviewer who phoned the parent at their home. Parent answers were recorded using computer assisted interviewing methods unless the parent did not have a phone. In this case, in person interviews were conducte d. Teachers and administrators were given paper school collected data from children. The direc t child assessment was un timed, organized one on one with each chil d and took an average of 50 70 minutes Hypo these s The following hypotheses were tested in the study: H1. There is a significant difference by student gender reading achievement. H2. There is a significant difference by student gender in learning. H3. There is a significant difference by student gender in to learning. H4 There is a significant learning and student reading achievement. H5 There is a significant and student reading achievement. H6 There is a significant hes to learning

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50 H7 There is a significant contribution of family resilience processes ( family be lief systems positive outlook, family organizational patterns connectedness, family communication open, emotional expression) to the prediction of student reading achievement H8. There is a significant contribution of family resilience processes ( family be lief systems positive outlook, family organizational patterns connectedness, and family communication H9 relationships between family resilience processes and reading achievement. Summary The purpose of this study was to use a family resilience theoretical perspective to identify three resilience factors in low income families that the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study Kindergarten (ECLS K) database, relationships among indicators of three family resilience processes ( i.e. family belief systems, family organizational patterns, and family communication ) analyzed using structural equation modeling. The results of the data analysis are presented in Chapter 4 and discus sion of these results is included in Chapter 5 along with a discussion of the study limitations and implications of the study findings

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51 Table 3 1. Family R esilience P rocesses Family Belief Systems Family Resilience Processes Variable Name Survey Question Item Questions Directionality Family Belief Systems Positive Outlook P1EXPECT P1 PIQ120 How far in school do you expect (CHILD) to go? Would you say Higher number indicates more positive outlook P2NOTGO P2 PPQ210 How often during the past week have you felt that you could not get going? Lower numbers indicate more positive outlook P2SAD P2 PPQ200 How often during the past week have you felt sad? Lower numbers indicate more positive outlook P2DEPRES P2 PPQ140 How often during the past week have you felt depressed? Lower numbers indicate more positive outlook P2FEARFL P2 PPQ160 How often during the past week have you felt fearful? Lower numbers indicate more positive outlook P2TALKLS P2 PPQ180 How often during the past week have you felt that you talked less than usual? Lower numbers indicate more positive outlook P2KPMIND P2 PPQ130 How often during the past week have you felt that you had trouble keeping your mind on what you were doing? Lower numbers indicate m ore positive outlook Transcendence & Spirituality P2RELIG P2 HEQ59 0 How often does someone in family talk with the child about beliefs/traditions? Higher number indicates more Transcendence & Spirituality P2CULTUR P2 HEQ600 How often does some in family participate in special cultural events/traditions? Higher number indicates more Transcendence & Spirituality

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52 Table 3 2 Family Resilience Processes Family Organizational Patterns Family Resilience Processes Variable Name Question Questions Directionality Family Organizational Patterns Connectedness P1LIKMOM P1 CFQ010 Is there any person (other than [yourself/the biological mother/the adoptive mother]) who is like a mother to (CHILD)? Yes (1) indicates Connectedness P1CLSGRN P1 CFQ 070 How many grandparents would you say (CHILD) has a close relationship to? Higher # indicates connectedness P1LIKDAD P1 CFQ 030 Is there any person (other than [yourself/ the biological father/the adoptive father]) who is like a father to (CHILD)? Yes (1) indicates Connectedness P1READBO P1 HEQ010 How often do you read to (CHILD)? Higher # indicates connectedness P1TELLST P1 HEQ010 How often do you tell (CHILD) stories? Higher # indicates connectedness P1SINGSO P1 HEQ010 How often do you all (household) sing songs? Higher # indicates connectedness P1GAMES P1 HEQ010 How often you all (household) play Games? Higher # indicates Connectedness P1NATURE P1 HEQ010 How often you teach (CHILD) about nature? Higher # indicates connectedness P1BUILD P1 HEQ010 How often you all (Household) build things? Yes indicates Connectedness P1SPORT P1 HEQ010 How often you all (household) do sports? Higher # indicates connectedness P2BKTOG P2 HEQ500 # Days Eat Breakfast together? Higher # indicates connectedness P2EVENG2 P2 HEQ500 # Days Eat Dinner together? Higher # indicates connectedness

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53 Table 3 3 Family Resilience Processes Family Communication Family Resilience Processes Items Questions Questions Directionality Family Communication Open Emotional Expression P2WARMCL P2 DWQ010 Child and I often have warm, close times together Lower # indicates open, emotional expression P2CHLIKE P2 DWQ015 Most of the time I feel that child likes me and wants to be near me Lower # indicates open, emotional expression P2SHOWLV P2 DWQ025 lot of love Lower # indicates open, emotional expression P2EXPRES P2 DWQ035 I express affection by hugging, kissing and holding child Lower # indicates open, emotional expression P2TOOBUS P2 DWQ020 I am usually too busy to joke and play around with child Higher # indicates open, emotional expression P2HRDWRM P2 DWQ030 By the end of a long day, I find it hard to be warm and loving toward child Higher # indicates open, emotional expression P2FEELAN P2 DWQ060 I often feel angry with child Higher # indicates open, emotional expression P2CHDOES P2 DWQ045 Child does things that really bother me Higher number indicates open emotional expression P2MEETND P2 DWQ050 I find myself giving up more of life to meet Higher number indicates open, emotional expression P2MOREWK P2 DWQ070 I find taking care of a young child more work than pleasure Higher number indicates open, emotional expression

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54 CHAPTER 4 DATA ANALYSIS AND RESULTS The purpose of this study was to use a family resilience theoretical perspective to identify three family resilience factors in low income families that may success. Using the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study Kindergarten (ECLS K) database, the relation ships among indicators of three family resilience processes ( i.e. family belief systems, family organizational patterns, and family communication ) examined. It was theorized that the dependent variable (reading achieveme nt) would be impacted by the independent variable s (family resilience proces ses). In addition, the variable (approaches to learning) would mediate the relationships between the independent variable s (family resilience processes) and the dependent variable (reading achievement). Analysis was performed on p arental and teacher d ata including 3 066 kindergarten children who were categorized as living in poverty The data analytic procedures used in this study are described along with the descriptive statistics f or variables of interest. T he results of the factor analyses and r eliability statistics for the variables of interest are then provided Finally, the results of the structural equation modeling of the influences of family resilience processes on were reported. Data Analytic Procedures Data analysis bega n with the calculation of descriptive statistics to describe demographics of the study sa mple and comparison of the statistics of the study sample to the total ECLS K kindergarten 1998 house hold, and language spoke in household.

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55 T tests were then conducted to analyze the difference s between male and female students on reading achievement In accordance with Enders and Bandalos (2001), problems involving missing data were controlled through the use of models estimating full information maximum likelihood (FIML). The statistical software used for data analysis included SPSS Statistics. Mplus (version 7.11) was used to perform the confirmatory factor analysi s and the final step, structural equation modeling (SEM). Although, structural equation modeling was used to assess the model (Bandalos, 2002; Bollen, 1989) shown in Table 1.1, several essential analyses were conducted prior to this step. First, a confirm atory factor analysis (Schreiber, Stage, Nora & Barlow, 2006) was used to assess the construct validity of the three family resilience constructs a) family beliefs systems, b) family organizational patterns c) and family communic ation. Reliability estimate s were also computed for each of the factor measures (Raykov, 1997). At this point, any indicators that were problematic to the model were dropped and model fit was determined by the use of fit indices ( normed fit index, comparative fit index, root mean square error of approximation ). Next, a full structural equation model was developed to depict the direct indirect and overall effects of the hypothesized family resilience processes (i.e. family belief systems family organizational patterns, and family communication ) on reading outcomes Additionally, the mediating effects of approaches to learning were assessed. Descriptive Statistics for the Study Variables Of the 3 066 kindergarten students in the sample 50.9% were male and 49.1% were female (See Table 4 1). This gender distribution was comparable to the overall population of kindergarten students, which had 51.1% male and 48.8% female. Cultural groups represented in sample included: Black or African American (28%) Hispanic (31%) Asian ( 6% ), Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander ( 1% ), Multi racial ( 2% ), and Non Hispanic White

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56 ( 27% ) (See Table 4 2) The overall population of kindergarten students has significantly more Non Hispanic White stude nts (55%) and less Black (15%) and Hispanic (18%). Other cultural sample (e.g. Asian, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander and multi racial). The family type, as indicated in Table 4 3 of the sample d included households with 2 parent, plus siblings ( 38% ), 2 parents, no siblings ( 3% ), 1 parent, plus siblings ( 31% ), and 1 parent, no siblings ( 7% ) Table 4 3 shows these findings In the overall population of kindergarten students there were significantly more two parent households with siblings (56%) significantly less one parent households with siblings (13%) and without siblings (6%) when Thirty five percent of the k indergarten students sampled had parents who were married at the time of the data collection 11% h ad parents who were divorce d 1.4% had parents wh o were w idowed, 30% had parents who were never married and 5% had adoptive parents ( 5% ) In the overall population of kindergarten students in the data set there were significantly more parents who were married (62%) and lower separated (4%), divorced (8% ), widowed (0.7%), never married (12%), and non student sample. Table 4 4 highlights these findings. The average number of individua ls living in the household was 5.1 and the mean number of siblings in the household was 2.0 indicated in Table 4 5 sampled kindergarten students 29% had mothers and 20% had fathers who spoke a language ot her than English to their child. The overall population of kindergarten

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57 students had lower percentages of languages other than English spoken to their child, with 18% of mothers and 14 % of fathers who spoke a language other than English to their child. These results are depicted in Table 4 6. Gender Differences in Reading Achievement & Approaches to Learning A series of t tests were performed to examine achievement and approaches to learning for the study sample. Statistics surrounding gender differ ences are shown in Table 4 7. in the study sample indicated a significance level of .170. Results of the t test revealed no significant differences by gender in student reading achievement (p value = 0.188). Hence Hypothesis 1 was not accepted However, t here were significant gender differences with p values of 0.01 in approaches to learning as reported by parents and by teachers variance in the study sample indicated a sign ificance level of 1.033 for teacher report and .018 for parent report (See Table 4 8). Thus Hypothesis 2 and Hypothesis 3 were accepted Confirmatory Factor Analysis on Family Resilience Processes Confirmatory factor analyses (CFA) were conducted to ident ify the best indicators of the predictor variables (i.e. family belief systems, family organizational patterns, and family communication) for the model in this study. It was theorized that the dependent variable (reading achievement) would be impacted by t he independent variable (family resilience processes). In addition, the variable, approaches to learning, would mediate both the independent variable (family resilience processes) and the dependent variable (reading achievement). Results for this analysis are as follows: Inte rrelationships and Co variation A confirmatory factor analysis for family resilience processes was used to examine the extent to which the latent constructs were interrelated. In addition this analysis served to provide

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58 correlations among the latent constructs. A correlation matrix for each of the three constructs representing family resilience processes are shown in Table s 4 9 through 4 11 Indicators that did not load well were omitted from the model. Two indicator variables shown in Table 3 1, (P2SAD, P2TALKSLS) were omitted from the family belief systems (positive outlook) construct. Eight indicator variables shown in Table 3 2, ( P1CLSGRN, P1SINGSO, P1GAMES, P1NATURE, P1BUILD, P1SPORT, P2BKTOG, P2EVENG2) were omitted from the fa mily organizational patterns (connectedness) construct. Six indicator variables shown in Table 3 3, (P2TOOBUS, P2HRDWRM, P2FEELAN, P2CHDOES, P2MEETND, P2MOREWK) were omitted from the family communication (open, emotional expression) construct. The researc her hypothesized a three factor model to be confirmed in the measurement portion of the model. Revised indicato rs representing the three factors are reflected in Table 4 12. Reliability s tatistics Cronbach alpha reliability estimates for the scales comp rising the indicators of the three Family Resilience Processes w ere then computed. These analyse s revealed that the i nitial set of items comprising the scales of transcendence and spirituality (housed under Family Belief Systems) and for social and economi c resources (housed under Family Organizational Patterns) did not have adequate reliability. Thus, certain items in theses scales were deleted and further reliability estimates were computed with a revised set of items resulting pha scores for each of the 3 family resilience processes constructs. Family belief systems (positive outlook organization 13). Structural Equation Modeling Goodness of f it Analyses to determine the goodness of fit of the proposed model include d the Chi square Test of Model Fit, Root Mean Square Error of Approximation

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59 (RMSEA), Comparative Fit Index (CFI) and the Non normed Fit Index (TLI). Table 4 14 provides estimation outcomes for these fit indicators. The general rule for acceptable fit for RMSEA is < 0.06 (Schreiber et al, 2006). Results for t his study show RM SEA of 0.022 an accepta ble fit. CFI ( 0.998 ) and TLI ( 0.976 ) (Lei & Wu, 2007). The Chi square p value was 0. 1211 (with 1 degree of freedom), which is indicative of good model fit. Resul ts of Regression Analyse s A correlation matrix for the structural equation modeling is provided on Table 4 15. Student Approaches to L earning and Reading Achievement relationship to student reading achievement w ith a p value of 0.001. Hence, h ypothesis f our was accepted. Moreover, p significant relationship to student reading achievement with a p value of 0.001. Therefore h ypothesis five was accepted. Additionally, p also w ith a p value of 0.001. Hence, h ypothesis six was also accepted. The model summary is shown in Table 4 16. Family Resilience Processes on R eading The following were the results of the regression analysis assessing the contribution of the three family resilience processes (i.e. positive o utlook, connectedness, and open/emotional expression) reading IRT scores. Although positive outlook and open/emotional expression were not significant predictors of reading with p values of 0.60 and 0.701 respectively, conne ctedness was a significant predictor of reading with a p value of 0.001. The estimate for connectedne ss was 0.045. This estimate requires reverse thinking when

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60 interpreting the results due to how it was scaled (negatively). Thus, a one unit increase in co nnection is predictive of a 3.388 point in reading IRT score. Meaning, as disconnection increases, reading scores decrease. Hypothesis seven was partially accepted as only one of the three family resilience processes (connectedness) was found to predict s tudents reading achievement Table 4 17 Reports these estimates, standard errors and significance values. Family resilience processes on a pproaches to learning. The three constructs comprising family resilience processes did not significantly contribute t o the prediction of Additionally, the family belief systems (positive outlook) factor approaches to learning. However, connecte dness and open, emotional expression were found to values of 0.001. Results showed that a one unit increase in connectedness is predictive of a 0.357 point in par ent report of approaches to learning. This variable was negatively scaled; this means that as disconnection increases, parent report of approaches to learning decreases. Results also indicated that a one unit increase in open, emotional expression is predi ctive of a 0.237 point in parent report of approaches to learning. This variable was also negatively scaled, thus, results indicate ng decreases. Hypothesis eight was partially accepted as two out the three family resilience processes contributed significantly to the prediction approaches to learning Table 4 18 highlights these findings. Approaches to learning mediating family resilience processes and reading achievement. When attempting to evaluate the ninth hypothesis exploring the relationship

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61 approaches to learning, M Plus output indicated that the data failed to converge. Thus, the error variance was negative (Dillon, Kumar, & Mulani, 1987) and a second order factor analysis was not possible. Summary Analysis of the data revealed that the hypothesized model which provides indicators for family resilience processes was reliable at the confirmatory factor analysis level and for structural equation modeling. SEM results showed acceptable chi square, RMSEA TLI and CFI model fit. Regression analysis of family processes on reading revealed th ere were significant relationships between reading and the connectedness factor in the family resilience processes model. Regression analysis of family processes on approaches to learning demonstrated that connectedness and open, emotional expression signi approaches to learning. H owever the three family resilience processes were not found to significantly predict ratings of student approaches to learning. Furthermore, both teacher and parent reports o ly predict reading achievement. Moreover result s indicated significant positive association A summary of the hyp otheses and outcomes can be found in Table 4 19.

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62 Table 4 1 Descriptive Statistics: Child gender, child a ge Variables N Male Female Child Gender (GENDER) 3 066 N=1563 50.9 % N=1 503 49.1 % Table 4 2 D ace (RACE) Variables % Child in Poverty Sample N= 3,066 % Child Overall Population N= 21, 358 Black or African American, Non Hispanic 28% 15.1% Hispanic, Race Specified 15% 8.6% Hispanic, Race not Specified 16% 9.3% Asian 6% 6.4% Native Hawaiian, Other Pacific Islander 1% 1.0% More than One Race, Non Hispanic 2% 2.6% White, Non Hispanic 27% 55.1% Table 4 3 Descriptive Statistics: Family Type (P1FAMIL) Variables % of Families in Poverty (N= 3 066 ) % of Overall Population (N=18,097) 2 Parents Plus Siblings 38% 55.7% 2 Parents No Siblings 3% 8.1% 1 Parent Plus Siblings 31% 13.3% 1 Parent No Sibling 7% 5.8% Other 4% 1.6% Missing Data 17% 15.5% Table 4 4 Variables N % Poverty Families % Overall Population Married 1 069 34.87% 61.8% Separated 292 9.52% 4.1% Divorced 341 11.12% 7.9% Widowed 44 1.44% 0.7% Never Married 919 29.97% 11.8% No Bio/Adoptive Parent 142 4.63% 2.2% Not Ascertained 4 0.13% 0.1% Missing Data 255 8.3% 11.4%

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63 Table 4 5 Descriptive Statistics: Household Total and Number of Siblings in Household Variables Mean of Families in Poverty N Mean of Overall Population N Total # in Household (P1HTOTAL) 5.1 3 066 4.5 18,097 # of Siblings in Household (P1NUMSIB) 2.0 3 066 1.46 18, 097 Table 4 6 Descriptive Statistics: Non English Language Spoken to Child by Parent Variables % Families in Poverty % Overall Population (P1HMLANG) N=18,034 Never Speaks Non English 52% 64.5% Sometimes Speaks Non English 6% 5.7% Often Speaks Non English 5% 3.7% Very Often Speaks Non English 18% 8.8% N/A 2% 1.5% Not Ascertained 1% 0.3% Missing Data 17% 15.5% (P1HDLANG) N=18035 Never Speaks Non English 23% 52.2% Sometimes Speaks Non English 4% 4.2% Often Speaks Non English 4% 2.8% Very Often Speaks Non English 12% 6.6% N/A 39% 18.4% Not Ascertained 1% 0.2% Missing Data 17% 15.5%

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64 Table 4 7. Gender Differences in Reading and Approaches to Learning. Scales N Mean Std. Deviation Std. Error Mean READING IRT SCALE SCORE MALE 1 377 23.7172 13.90209 .37464 FEMALE 1 338 24.4213 13.93978 .38109 ATL TEACHER SURVEY MALE 1 430 2.6730 1.12356 .02971 FEMALE 1 392 3.0001 .95146 .02550 ATL PARENT SURVEY MALE 1 429 2.8982 .93338 .02469 FEMALE 1 379 3.0456 .94834 .02554 *ATL=Approaches to Learning Table 4 8. T tests: Equality of Variance and Equality of Means (Reading & Approaches to Learning) Levene's Test for Equality of Variances T test for Equality of Means F Sig. t D f Sig. (2 tailed) Mean Difference Std. Error Difference 95% Confidence Interval of the Difference Lower Upper READING IRT SCORE EVA .082 .774 1.318 2713 .188 .70411 .53438 1.75195 .34372 EVNA 1.318 2710.319 .188 .70411 .53440 1.75199 .34376 ATL TEACHER SURVEY EVA 1.033 .309 8.335 2820 001 .32709 .03924 .40404 .25015 EVNA 8.354 2767.186 .001 .32709 .03916 .40387 .25032 ATL PARENT SURVEY EVA .018 .893 4.151 2806 .001 .14740 .03551 .21704 .07777 EVNA 4.150 2798.569 .001 .14740 .03552 .21706 .07775 *ATL=Approaches to Learning; EVA=Equal Variance Assumed; EVNA=Equal Variance Not Assumed

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65 Table 4 9 Correlation Matrix for Confirmatory Factor Analysis (Family Belief Systems Positive Outlook) Observed Variable 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1. P1EXPECT 1 ------------2. P2NOTGO 0.127 1 ----------3. P2SAD 0.60 .0529 1 --------4. P2DEPRES 0.082 0.525 0.783 1 ------5. P2FEARFL 0.008 0.427 0.546 0.504 1 ----6. P2TALKLS 0.065 0.524 0.558 0.546 0.471 1 --7. P2KPMIND 0.060 0.559 0.580 0.580 0.585 0.433 1 *M = 0; St. Dev. = 1 Table 4 1 0 Correlation Matrix for Confirmatory Factor Analysis (Family Organizational Patterns Connectedness) Observed Variable 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 8. P1LIKMOM 1 ----------------------9. P1CLSGRN 0.181 1 --------------------10. P1LIKDAD 0.574 0.171 1 ------------------11. P1READBO 0.015 0.064 0.020 1 ----------------12. P1TELLST 0.072 0.072 0.048 0.505 1 --------------13. P1SINGSO 0.104 0.099 0.114 0.271 0.297 1 ------------14. P1GAMES 0.078 0.049 0.075 0.251 0.310 0.332 1 ----------15. P1NATURE 0.026 0.090 0.080 0.270 0.326 0.329 0.328 1 --------16. P1BUILD 0.024 0.091 0.015 0.287 0.280 0.263 0.334 0.308 1 ------17. P1SPORT 0.103 0.110 0.114 0.228 0.264 0.320 0.376 0.311 0.308 1 ----18. P2BKTOG 0.015 0.026 0.012 0.111 0.076 0.059 0.063 0.071 0.066 0.084 1 --19. P2EVENG2 0.021 0.013 0.028 0.30 0.172 0.150 0.082 0.063 0.047 0.054 0.186 1 *M = 0; St. Dev. = 1

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66 T able 4 11 Correlation Matrix for Confirmatory Factor Analysis (Family Communication Open, Emotional Expression) Observed Variable 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 20. P2WARMCL 1 ------------------21 P2CHLIKE 0.627 1 ----------------22. P2SHOWLV 0.385 0.423 1 --------------23. P2EXPRES 0.467 0.452 0.432 1 ------------24. P2TOOBUS 0.212 0.152 0.272 0.346 1 ----------25. P2HRDWRM 0.175 0.156 0.255 0.286 0.515 1 --------26. P2FEELAN 0.176 0.156 0.173 0.101 0.282 0.318 1 ------27. P2CHDOES 0.182 0.117 0.109 0.019 0.275 0.251 0.498 1 ----28. P2MEETND 0.025 0.066 0.073 0.097 0.169 0.228 0.294 0.407 1 --29. P2MOREWK 0.167 0.115 0.115 0.158 0.277 0.333 0.348 0.352 0.379 1 *M = 0; St. Dev. = 1 Table 4 12 SEM: Factors and Variables in Family Resilience Processes Model Factor Observed Variable Item Questions Directionality Factor 1: Family Belief Systems (Positive Outlook) 1.P1EXPECT How far in school do you expect (CHILD) to go? Positive estimate indicates P.O. 2. P2NOTGO How often during the past week have you felt that you could not get going? 3.P2DEPRES How often during the past week have you felt depressed? 4.P2FEARFL How often during the past week have you felt fearful? 5.P2KPMIND How often during the past week have you felt that you had trouble keeping your mind on what you were doing? Factor 2: Family Organizational Patterns (Connectedness) 6. P1LIKMOM Is there any person (other than [yourself/the biological mother/the adoptive mother]) who is like a mother to (CHILD)? Negative estimate indicates conn. 7. P1LIKDAD Is there any person (other than [yourself/ the biological father/the adoptive father]) who is like a father to (CHILD)? 8. P1READBO How often do you read to (CHILD)? 9. P1TELLST How often do you tell (CHILD) stories? Factor 3: Family Communication (Open, Emotional Expression) 10. P2WARMCL Child and I often have warm, close times together Negative estimate indicates OOE 11. P2CHLIKE Most of the time I feel that child likes me and wants to be near me 12. P2SHOWLV love 13. P2EXPRES I express affection by hugging, kissing and holding child *P.O = Positive Outlook, Con. = Connectedness, OOE = Open, Emotional Expression

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67 Table 4 13 Reliability Statistics: Family Resilience Processes Family Resilience Processes Subcategory Family Belief Systems Positive Outlook 0.757 Family Communication Open Emotional Expression 0.786 Family Organizational Patterns Connectedness 0.897 Table 4 14. Factor Regression: Tests of Model Fit Index Chi square P value 0.1211 (with 1 degree of freedom) RMSEA 0.022 CFI 0.998 TLI 0.976

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68 T able 4 15 Correlation Matrix for SEM (Family Resilience Processes) Observed Variable 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Factor 1 1.P1EXPECT 1 ------------------------2. P2NOTGO 0.127 1 ----------------------3.P2DEPRES 0.082 0.525 1 --------------------4.P2FEARFL 0.008 0.427 0.504 1 ------------------5.P2KPMIND 0.058 0.462 0.492 0.346 1 ----------------Factor 2 6. P1LIKMOM 0.019 0.067 0.007 0.011 0.054 1 --------------7. P1LIKDAD 0.060 0.078 0.065 0.002 0.069 0.574 1 ------------8. P1READBO 0.103 0.038 0.097 0.070 0.005 0.015 0.020 1 ------9. P1TELLST 0.120 0.074 0.081 0.038 0.019 0.072 0.048 0.505 1 --------Factor 3 10. P2WARMCL 0.148 0.151 0.119 0.061 0.121 0.090 0.031 0.159 0.172 1 ------11. P2CHLIKE 0.164 0.021 0.074 0.056 0.071 0.090 0.122 0.136 0.179 0.627 1 ----12. P2SHOWLV 0.101 0.114 0.144 0.104 0.089 0.078 0.089 0.113 0.171 0.385 0.423 1 --13. P2EXPRES 0.068 0.006 0.055 0.008 0.005 0.172 0.203 0.130 0.127 0.467 0.452 0.432 1

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69 Table 4 16. Factor Regressions: Approaches to Learning and Reading Predictor Outcome Estimate S.E. Ext./S.E. Two tailed P value Approaches to Learning Teacher Report Reading 1.519 0.102 14.951 0.001 Parent Report Reading 0.437 0.070 6.241 0.001 Teacher Report 0.077 0.007 10.766 0.001 *Pos. Outlook = Positive Outlook; Open, Emo. Expr. = Open Emotional Expression

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70 Table 4 17 Factor Regression: Family Resilience Processes on Reading Estimate S.E. Ext./S.E. Two Tailed P Value Reading IRT Score Pos. Outlook 1.888 1.344 1.405 0.160 Connectedness 3.388 0.984 3.445 0.001 Open, Emo. Expr. 0.117 0.306 0.384 0.701 *Pos. Outlook = Positive Outlook; Open, Emo. Expr. = Open Emotional Expression

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71 Table 4 18 Factor Regressions: Family Resilience Processes on Approaches to Learning Approaches to Learning Family Resilience Processes Estimate S.E. Ext./S.E. Two tailed P value Teacher Report Pos. Outlook 0.284 0.136 2.094 0.036 Connectedness 0.042 0.101 0.417 0.677 Open, Emo. Expr. 0.042 0.030 1.384 0.166 Parent Report Pos. Outlook 0.110 0.091 1.208 0.227 Connectedness 0.357 0.070 5.129 0.001 Open, Emo. Expr. 0.236 0.020 11.557 0.001 *Pos. Outlook = Positive Outlook; Open, Emo. Expr. = Open Emotional Expression

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72 Table 4 19. Hypotheses Testing Hypothesis Outcome H1. reading achievement. No significance H2. of student approaches to learning. Significance H3. report of student approaches to learning. Significance H4 student approaches to learning and student reading achievement. No significance H5 approaches to learning and student reading achievement. Significance H6 learning. Significance H7 There is a significant contribution of family resilience processes to the prediction of student reading achievement. Family belief systems (positive outlook) No significance Family organizational patterns (connectedness) Significance Family communication (open, emotional expression) No significance H8 There is a significant contribution of family resilience processes to the prediction of student approaches to learning. Family belief systems (positive outlook) PR no significance TR no significance Family organizational patterns ( connectedness ) PR significance TR no significance Family communication ( open, emotional expression) PR significance TR no significance H9. mediating the relationships between family resilience processes and reading achievement. Unable to determine *PR=Parent Report; TR=Teacher Report

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73 Figure 4 1. Structural equation model with fit modifications *Bold face errors indicate structural component. e = error.

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74 Figure 4 2. Factor Regression s. Estimate and standard error included

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75 Figure 4 3. Outcome Summary.

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76 CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION The purpose of the current study was to examine the influence of three family resilience processes influence on low income It was hoped that the findings from this study could further contribute to conversations related to the experience of children in marginalized a nd at risk family circumstances. This study theorized that resilience processes demonstrated by families of children in poverty might explain why certain children do well in school despite the disadvantages they face. This chapter provides a discussion of the findings regarding the demographic characteristics of this sample of kindergarten students as compared to the total ECLS K kindergarten sample. Differences by ge nder will also by discussed Finally the findings concerning the contribution of family resilience processes to the prediction of s and approaches to learning will be discussed Additionally, limitations of the study are addressed Finally, i mplications for practice, theory and research are discussed. Demographic Characteristics Initial analysis of demographics of the study sample demonstrates both similarities and differences when compared to the overall population of kindergar ten students in the ECLS K data set Compared to the findings of Zill and West (2001) who examined the total ECLS K study sample of kindergarten students the following disparities were significant. There were more Black and Hispanic students and less Whit e students compared to the overall population of kindergarten students in the total ECLS K sample This study sample had fewer students living in two parent households compared to the overall population of kindergarten students. There were more students li ving with separated, divorced, widowed, or never married parents as compared to the overall ECLS K

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77 children also had a greater proportion of children being raised by non biological or adoptive par students (5.1) was slightly higher when compared to the overall population (4.5). Furthermore, the average number of siblings in the household was slightly higher students in poverty. Finally, students in poverty had a higher proportion of parents that spoke a language other than English in the household. Gender Differences in Reading Achievement and Approaches to Learning In this study it was hypothesized that there would be differences by gender in reading income students. The first hypo thesis of this study tested whether there were gender differences in reading achievement This hypothesis was not accepted because findings revealed that there were no gender differences in reading achievement in this study sample. Gender differences have been reported in previous studies. The findings in this study with regard to gender and re ading achievement are inconsistent with the findings of the overall ECLS K kindergarten student population reported by Zill and West (2001). T he se researchers reported that girls perform slightly higher than boys compared when looking at the proportion of students who are one or two proficiency levels ahead of the average student. Specifically, more girls than boys were able to associate letters with sounds at the beginning and ending of words and 70% of girls know their letters compared to 62% of boys. In the current study, similar findings about gender differences were expected One possible explanation of the inconsistency in results may be that girls in more economically advantaged living situations are provided with more opportunities for reading coachi ng than are girls coming from families in poverty. determine if there were differences by gender. Results from this study revealed significant

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78 differences by gender in pa approaches to learning with females rated as demonstrating positive approaches to learning than their male counterparts Thus, the second and third hypotheses were accepted. This is consistent with findings by Zi ll and West (2001) who reported that 78% of girls show eagerness to learn compared to 71% of boys, 74% of girls pay attention well compared to 58% of boys, and 78% of girls continually complete assigned tasks compared to 65% of boys. Approaches to Learnin g and Reading Achievement The fourth hypothesis was accepted as a significant relationship between teachers report of student approaches to learning and reading achievement was found. Furthermore, findings reading achi evement Thus, the fifth hypothesis was accepted. Additionally, t he sixth hypothesis was accepted as the proposed r elationship between teacher and parent reports of student approaches to learning to reading was found to be significant To date, research c The Soci al Skills Rating Scales (SSRS) is a measure that explores has (Ellio tt, Gresham, & McCloskey, 1988 ) However, in one study by Ruffallo and Elliott (1997), researchers utilized item analysis protocol (IAP) to look for correlations among pare nt and teacher ratings of SSRS. F indings revealed greater differences between responses than among parent and teacher responses. One explanation for these findings may be that parents and teachers both can each (i.e. mothers, fathers, and teachers) can offer varied information as a result of observing children in different settings.

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79 Family Resilience P rocesses Predicting Reading Achievement Regression analysis of family resilience processes on reading revealed there were no significant relationshi ps between reading achievement and family belief systems (positive outlook) or family communication (open, emotional ex pression) There were, however, significant relationships between reading achievement and the connectedness factor in the family resilien ce processes model. These results are partially consistent with the expectations of this study, however, it was hoped that all family resilience processes would significantly predict reading achievement. Thus, the seventh hypothesis was partially accepted. For this study, operationalization of these factors was influenced by previous studies measuring parental factors within the ECLS K data set (Bodovski & Youn, 2010). However, this study differed from previous studies by utilizing a strength based approac h to conceptualize famil y factors. Possible reasons why positive outlook and open, emotional expression were not question items for these factors did not fully capture the nuances involved these types of positive family dynamics as they strayed from parent centered to family centered effects resilience processes, connectedness, was the purposes of this study connectedness was operationalized through items that captured not only extended family relationships (i.e. people who have relationships with the child that resemble parental roles) but also inte ractions promoting connection ( e. g. frequency with which parents read or tell stories to the child). Researchers have reported positive associations between quality family interactions and skills (Brooks Gunn & Markm an, 2005). The literature indicates that early parent child interactions (prior to kindergarten) are strong predictors of low development (Dodici, Draper, & Peterson, 2003).

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80 Kainz and Vernon Feagons (2007) in their study on the ECLS K data set, reported family characteristics as strong predictors of low initial reading skills at the kindergarten level. In addition, home literacy experiences such as reading to children and/or telling children stories have been li nked to early literacy skill development (Dodici, et al, 2003) that promotes later school success Family Resilience Processes Predicting Approaches to Learning Of the three family resilience processes, connectedness and open, emotional expression were sh learning. However no significant relationship was found in family belief systems (positive outlook) predicting the three family approaches to learning. These f indings are partially consistent with the expectations of this study. It was hoped, however, that all famil y resilience processes would significantly predict both parent and teacher (i.e. persistence at tasks, eagerness to learn, attentiveness, learning independence, flexibility, and organization) Hence, the eighth hypothesis was partially accepted. There is a scarcity of research exploring differences among parental and teacher Researchers have studied family factors parental n urturance, discipline, teaching nurturance (Brooks Gunn & Markman, 2005) as well as maternal emotional distress and parenting styles (Linver & Brooks Gunn, 2002) -associated research conducted by Whitaker, Graham, Severtson, Furr Holden, & Latimer, 2011) 16) motivation for learning was strongly influenced by

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81 factors associated with family functioning reported by parents. This may account for the lack of c to learning were not associated with family resilience processes. The ninth hypothesis proposed a significant relationship between family resilience However, results indicated no convergence, so a second order regression analysis was not possible Reasons for this, as described by Dilon, et al. (1987) are termed Heywood cases where results show negative or near zero variance estimates and are connected to identification problems, outliers, sampling fluctuations or model misspecifications. In this study, it is theorized that failure to converge was a result of unforeseen measurement error or missing links in the model. Study Limitations There were several limitations inherent in this study First, due to uti lizing a post hoc data set the researc her did not have an influence over the choice of questions and instruments used. Although review of the literature and consultation were utilized to include indicators that connected to family resilience processes, the researcher was limited to only using the items provided in the ECLS K data. Consequently, there is a deficit based tone to some of the item questions connected to positive outlook -or one of the subsets of the family belief systems resilience processes. For instance, item PPQ200 asks parents outlook. It was theorized that lower scores for this indicator would suggest the absence of evidence of this deficit based measure and in fact the ECLS K data analytics ca tegorize this and many of the other indicators used for positive outlook under parental well being Ideally, the researcher would want to construct items that are

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82 consistent with the strength based theoretical lens used. However, in efforts to utilize a la rge, nationally representative sample of students required to perform structural equation modeling, this drawback was necessary. As indicated in the implications for future researcher, studies exploring family resilience processes in which researchers deve lop their own survey questions would benefit from use of strength based language. A second limitation was that t he data for the ECLS K kindergarten class was collected in 1998. This can be seen as a limitation due to shifts in education policy and practi ces over the last decade. The real time effects of those shifts cannot be seen with this particular study. However, because the study was meant to provide a baseline measure that may be utilized in future studies, it can still provide insight into factors that affect kindergarten students educational success. For instance, this data can be compared longitudinally with remaining data collected for the ECLS K (i.e 1 st grade, 3 rd grade, 5 th grade, and 8 th grade) or it can be used as a baseline to compare to newer data from the ECLS K study (i.e. kindergarten class of 2011 2012). Another limitation concerned the voluntary nature of participants utilized in the study. For example, participants may not accurately reflect the poorest families living in poverty. Although, the ECLS K researchers implemented adequate sampling procedures, families in poverty that may not have basic resources (i.e. phone) may not have been represented in the sample. Also, because many of the survey questions assessed the child parent relationships a topic that can be very personal and may lead to participants providing answers that are not an accurate reflection of their parent child interactions the respondents might seek to present themselves in a more socially desirable light in completing the parent interview, and thus might not accurately represent their family processes

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83 Implication s Findings from Zill and West (2001) when compared to the findings of this study allude to the need to continue exploring which of a family posit success. For instance, these researchers reported that some kindergarten students who come from adverse living circumstances have been shown to demonstrate advanced levels of school achievement In their research, Zi ll and West (2001) provided a portrait of American children during the first year of elementary school and describe variations in knowledge, skills and behaviors across groups of children and found that one child in 20 kindergarten children who come from f amilies with high risk characteristics (i.e. mother has not completed high school, families on welfare, single parent households, parents with English as a second language) perform two proficiency levels ahead of the typical American kindergartener in read ing and one level ahead in math. Furthermore, these researchers reported that one in a hundred kindergarteners coming from a disadvantaged family demonstrated advanced levels in reading or math skills upon entering kindergarten. Implications for Research in the U.S. with regard to family structure, configuration, ethnicity, etc. in 1998. This information can be compared to more recent demographic data for kindergarten students in the U.S. Findings from this study can contribute to the foundational knowledge with which researchers build conceptualizations about young school aged children in poverty. For instance, gender differences found in this study connected to readi to learning provide new and validating evidence, respectively, to previous research studies. To date, there are few studies that explore unique family factors of children in poverty that help propel them forward. Alth ough, this study expected to find more significance with

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84 regard to multiple family resilience factors influencing school outcomes, the results still demonstrated relationships between connectedness and reading achievement. The findings of this study attest to the efficacy in utilizing family connectedness as a predictor variable when exploring reading achievement. Also, the relationship found in the study between two family resilience processes (connectedness an d open, emotional expression) and student approaches to learning provides rationale for researchers to consider these variables Implications for Practice The results of this study have implications for school administrators, teachers and clinicians. For example, the findings support the need for schools, personnel, and teachers to promote family resilience processes such as connectedness and positive outlook. Zill and West (2001) offer minishing) advantages that their pupil had when ente 1 ). Utilizing resilience based approach es when understanding and working with children in poverty and with other marginalized populations can combat the potential for this to occur. Find ings from this study indicate that school strategies aimed at promoting both family connectedness and open, emotional expression can assist in fostering academic achievement in young children living in poverty This is consistent with researchers such as S now and Beals (2006) who argue that family interactions at mealtimes can and cognitive development in ways that support their lear Given that these practices promote family connectedness and are tied to literacy development, rationale for exploring how school interactions with families can motivate this type of positive, literacy promoting dynamic.

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85 Additionally, clinicians can benefit from the findings in this study to enhance their knowl edge in work ing with families who have young children. F amily interventions that focus on aspects of family resilience may be useful in fostering successful school outcomes for at risk children such as those living in poverty Teacher preparation programs may utilize these findings to better equip teach ers in training with knowledge about family resilience processes. Collaborative family school practices have been found useful when working with low income and other marginalized families ( Amatea, et al, 2013 ). Teacher education programs can further enhance collaborative family school intervention strategies by incorporating family resilience framework to determine and promote family strength s. Implication s for Theory This study utilized a family resilience theoretical fram ework proposed by Walsh (2012). The findings of this study suggest that utilizing strength based research frameworks when be instrumental in starting to identify what works well in low income families to promote school success. Furthermore, theories connected based nature of the study, specifically related to the examination of family resilience processes influencing child outcomes. Altho ugh, resilience based theories have been utilized in various other fields (i.e. family therapy, nursing, etc.) in conceptualizing the experiences of those they serve, the education field has not typically used this lens when viewing children and families. Thus, the education field may benefit from alter ing their conceptualizations of child in the family context to include a more strength based, holistic lens. Recommendation for Future Research Skill development in early childhood is s success (Dodici, et al., 2003). Thus, a growing awareness of predictive factors contributing to

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86 academic achievement in kindergarten sheds light onto protective factors that promote academic achievement througho and later school performance provide rationale for studies exploring factors that positively contribute to academic success (Dodici, et al., 2003). Furthermore, as low income schoo l children continue to face adverse circumstances that provide barriers for school success, a strong rationale for exploration of positive family factors in low income families that combat negative effects on school achievement becomes evident. The findin gs of this study serve as a baseline for future research on family resilience l outcome. The family resilience processes model constructed for this study could be used in future research studies involving ECLS as well as behavioral outcomes in school (i.e. externa lizing and internalizing). Furthermore, studies utilizing other large databases can serve to expand the understanding of family resilience Furthermore, the inconsistency between the gender differences in the overall population of kindergarteners reading achievement and the lack of gender differences in reading for the children in poverty explored in this study shed light onto the need to further explore what K 1998 99 kindergarten cohort data as a comparative sample to obtain model estimates. Although utilizing replication with multi ple samples was beyond the scope of this study, future replication with other marginalized populations (i.e. minority children, children with English as a second language, etc.) would be beneficial in demonst r ating stability

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87 of results for this particular study and can provide insight into linkages, for instance, between certain languages spoken in the home and reading achievement. Conclusion This study utilized a family resilience theoretical framework to create and test a model of family resilience pro cesses to that might influence use of this theory is representative of new ways to conceptualize the experiences that families in poverty go through a strength based lens Such a lens might allow educators to vie w various aspects of family life that potentially in a positive way In this study, family belief systems, family connectedness, and family organizational patterns were hypothesized to influence positive outcomes of childre and approaches to learning. Findings demonstrated that connectedness and open, emotional expression significantly processes were not found found to have a significant relationship to reading achievement. Additionally, results indi cated a Although the initial measures (i.e. confirmatory factor analysis, reliability, fix indexes) showed promise for the model measuring the influence of fam ily resilience processes on reading with the final analysis revealed need for model adjustment Findings suggest i mplications for research, theory and practice inclusive of implementation of a strength based, family resilience theoretical perspective when studying

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95 Whitaker, D., Graham, C., Severtson, G.S., Furr Holden, C.D., & Latimer, W. (2011). Neighborhood and family effects on learning motivation among urban African American middle school youth. Journal of Child Family Studies, 21 131 138. Wright, L.M, & Bell, J.M. (2009). Beliefs and illness: A model for healing. Canada: 4 th Floor Press. Yeung, W.J., Linver, M.R., & Brooks development: Parental investment and family processes. Child Development, 73 (6), 18 61 1879.

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96 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Kacy A. Mixon was born in Winter Haven, Florida. Before pursuing graduate stud ies, she completed her B.A. in s ociology at the University of Florida in 2005. Kacy grad uated in 2007 with her M.S. in marriage and f am ily t herapy from Valdosta State University. Kacy has also studied psychotherapy in the Czech Republic, an experience that shaped her understanding of societal resilience. Following her studies in Valdosta, GA, she worked as a staff therapist providing intensive in home therapy services in the Broward County area in South Florida, an area full of diverse cultural/ethnic and religious client backgrounds. Kacy worked collaboratively with community mental health agencies, Department of Juvenile Justice, Department o f Children and Families, and the family courts to assist and provide clients with family therapy services in the areas of sexual abuse, rape, divorce, marital counseling, parenting, child behavioral dilemmas, suicide/suicidal ideation, grief/loss, depressi on, child abuse, self injury, family transitions, foster care/adoption transitions, domestic violence. One of 3 therapists in region to work with the national SAFESTART grant which focused on preventing effects of violence on children. elping clients navigate through confusing court system s assisting with mandated court requests, and connecting clients to community resources led to her interest in exploring and utilizing existing family strengths in treatment as a way to mitigate advers ity experienced by her clients. She is a currently a licensed marriage and family therapist working with the Military Families Learning Network providing the latest research, continuing education, and training opportunities related to family strengthening as well as prevention and treatment of family violence for professionals working with milit ary families. She also works as an adjunct instructor and clinical supervisor to marriage and family therapists in training at Valdosta State University. She teache s, practices and supervises utilizing a strength based, family resilience framework.

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97 She received her Ph.D. in counselor education and supervision with a marriage and family counseling concentration from the University of Florid in the fall of 2013 K acy a ctively researches, teache s, publishes, and presents on family school partnerships, counselor wellness, military family experiences and the assessment and treatment of family violence. She also has led workshops on creativity in counseling. structed teachers in training about effective practices in engaging families and community involvement in schools with diverse family populations, which has significantly shaped her research lens. Additionally, the experience of being a licensed marriage a nd family therapist has shaped her views of families struggling with adverse circumstances in that she has seen first hand resilient factors assisting in achievement of goals and discovering strengths necessary to overcome hardship. Furthermore, Kacy was struck by current literature that neglected to use a strength based orientation when studying low income families. These deficit oriented approaches to research seemed to contradict the experiences Kacy saw first hand when working with low income and other marginalized families. K data stemmed from conversations with colleagues about their work with post hoc databases. Furthermore, Kacy has been a member of a research team that utilizes the ECLS K database and structural equation modeling. This approach to data analysis was also convenient and gave her opportunity to gain even more experience working with large post hoc data sets.