How Does Family Structure Influence the Educational Attainment of Adolescents in Spain?

By Tamara Villalba-Morente.

Published by The International Journal of Learner Diversity and Identities

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The aim of this paper is to examine the relationship between family structure and educational failure among adolescents living in Spain, as measured by the probability of having repeated a year. In this research we consider the type of family structure, as well as the type and number of family transitions. The literature highlights a number of mediating factors between family structure and educational outcomes, such as household socioeconomic level, and intra-family processes (i.e. parenting styles, etc.). To complete this information, we also take into account a number of factors related to the school context and socio-demographic characteristics. The sample is composed of 21576 Spanish adolescents aged between 11 and 18 and has been drawn from the HBSC Survey (Health Behavior in School-Aged Children Survey) of 2006. The results confirm the importance of the socioeconomic status of the household and the nature of parent-child relationships in explaining the influence of family structure on the likelihood of school failure among adolescents.

Keywords: Educational Attainment, School Failure, Academic Performance, Family Structure

The International Journal of Learner Diversity and Identities, Volume 19, Issue 4, pp.29-40. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 379.563KB).

Tamara Villalba-Morente

Predoctoral Researcher, Center for Human and Social Sciences, Spanish National Research Council, Madrid, Spain

Tamara Villalba Morente has a B.A in sociology from the Universidad Complutense of Madrid, specializing in human ecology and population (2009), and a Master in population, society and territory by the same institution (2010). She holds also a postgraduate degree in quantitative research methodology and statistical techniques by the Universidad Politécnica of Madrid and the Spanish Council for Scientific Research (2012). Her research deals with demography-related issues, with a particular focus on fertility and family structure. She is currently a PhD student at the Spanish Council for Scientific Research (CSIC), where she is writing a thesis titled "The Wellbeing of Adolescents in Non-traditional Families" under the direction of Professor Teresa Castro Martin.