This research sought to bring awareness to positive communication skills and social components that may be helpful with closing the persistent academic achievement gap between White and Black students in junior high school and high school. In underserved Black American populations it is often believed that parents have little communication concerning the need for educational attainment; however, there is some research to explain that Black American parents participate in much communication with their children pertaining to academic well-being.
Questionnaires were distributed to 167 adolescents, ages 11–19 years old, in sixth through twelfth grades. Once data were collected, we completed moderated-mediation analyses using the bootstrapping technique in Process.
We found support for self-efficacy and social skills as mediators in the relationship between parent–adolescent communication (PAC) and academic performance. However, the findings were conditional for moderators, grade level and household make up. Results for self-efficacy and social skills were mixed for junior high school and high school in the relationship between PAC and academic performance. Furthermore, single parent homes revealed low amounts of self-efficacy and social skills as expected in the moderated-mediation.
Implications for the study suggest more direct PAC in the Black American community surrounding self-efficacy, social skills and academic performance in order to promote academic success.