Adolescent coping with academic challenges: The role of parental socialization of coping

Kelly M. Tu, Tianying Cai, Xiaomei Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: How youth cope with academic challenges has important implications for their academic outcomes. The contributions of parental involvement have been relatively well-established; however, few, if any studies have investigated the role of parental socialization of academic coping (i.e., coping suggestions) in shaping youth coping with academic challenges. Methods: Using a community sample from the United States, we utilized a multi-informant, longitudinal design to investigate the prospective association between parental socialization of academic coping and adolescent coping with academic challenges. Adolescent gender was also examined as a moderator of associations. Participants included 86 two-parent families (54% boys; 38–52% ethnic minorities). At Time 1, mothers and fathers reported on their problem-solving, help-seeking, and disengaged coping suggestions in response to three hypothetical academic challenge scenarios (i.e., forgetting about or performing poorly on an assignment, difficulties managing academic demands). At Times 1 and 2, adolescents reported on their coping strategies (e.g., strategizing, help-seeking, escape) in response to academic challenges. Results: Father-reported problem-focused suggestions were associated with youths' more adaptive coping (e.g., strategizing, help-seeking) over time. Interestingly, father-reported disengaged suggestions were associated with less maladaptive coping over time. Further, adolescent gender moderated associations linking mothers' and fathers' problem-focused suggestions and fathers’ help-seeking and disengaged suggestions with adolescent coping over time. Conclusions: Overall, fathers' coping suggestions were associated with more adaptive coping for girls as compared with boys. Findings highlight the role of parental socialization of coping, particularly fathers’ role, in the academic domain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-38
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Adolescence
StatePublished - Jun 2020


  • Academics
  • Coping
  • Middle school
  • Parenting
  • Socialization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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