The Effect of Adolescent Perceptions of Relatedness to Parents and Peers on Perceived Academic Competence




Frye, Michael B

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The relationships that students have with their parents and peers permeate their lives both inside and outside of the classroom. The purpose of the present exploratory study is to assess (a) the psychometric quality of measures gauging the latent variables of adolescents' perceptions of their relatedness to both parents and peers and (b) the effects that these latent variables have on each other and on student-perceived academic competence. The nationally representative study sample consists of 8,607 students in Grades 6 to 10 who responded to the Health Behavior in School-Aged Children survey. The survey data were obtained from an extant, publically available data set. The data were used to build targeted latent variables measuring sense of relatedness to parents, sense of relatedness to peers, and students’ perceived academic competence. The student responses to survey items serve as observed indicators of the latent variables of interest (relatedness to parents, relatedness to peers, and perceived academic competence). These items were used to build the scales measuring perceived relatedness to parents, perceived relatedness to peers, and perceived academic competence. Results of the confirmatory factor analysis indicated that the constructed scales are structurally valid—that is, good model fit was demonstrated. Reliability analysis indicated acceptable reliability for the perceived relatedness to parents scale, but lower reliability estimates for the perceived relatedness to peers and perceived academic competence scales. Path analysis conducted within a structural equation modeling framework was used to estimate the direct and indirect effects of perceived relatedness to parents and perceived relatedness to peers on perceived academic competence, controlling for differences in socioeconomic status, gender, age, and minority status. Results indicate that both perceived relatedness to parents and perceived relatedness to peers have a positive and statistically significant effect on perceived academic competence. The analysis also yielded a positive and significant indirect effect of perceived relatedness to parents on perceived academic competence via perceived relatedness to peers. Findings on validity and reliability can be used to inform methodological decisions in similar research on testing for validity and reliability of variables gauging relatedness and relationships as well as to assess the effect these variables have on perceived academic competence, achievement, and success in general.



Educational psychology, Educational tests & measurements, Academic competence, Relatedness, Structural equation modeling