Publication Date



Open access

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Sociology (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Jomills H. Braddock

Second Committee Member

Marvin P. Dawkins

Third Committee Member

John W. Murphy

Fourth Committee Member

Donald Spivey


Using data from the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 (ELS:2002), this study extends research on school-based athletic participation and youth development. First, a conceptual model was developed to assess the impact of 10th grade school-based athletic participation and 10th grade parental involvement, along with other known correlates of academic success, on the college preparedness of high school seniors attending public high schools. The primary dependent variable, college preparedness, is the factor score of whether a student applied to college, sought college entrance information from a variety of sources, took the SAT or ACT college entrance exam, as well as the student?s standardized math test score. College preparedness is thus a composite of both math academic achievement and active college-preparatory behaviors. Multiple regression analyses (standardized beta coefficients) and structural equations models were performed to assess the direct, indirect, and total effects of each of the variables in the causal model. Separate analyses were conducted for the full study sample, males, and females. The findings from the current study indicate that parental involvement remains meaningful for older adolescents and that participation in school-based interscholastic sports generates parental social capital, particularly in the school sphere. The parents of student athletes were significantly more involved in their adolescents? schools than the parents of non-athletes. This study also examined the differential effect of parent-student gender and parental involvement. The findings did not reveal a same-sex gender advantage with regard to PI. The findings of the current study also provide further empirical evidence that participation in interscholastic athletics does not deter students from the academic mission of schools. Varsity sport participation was shown to be a significant (positive) independent predictor of college preparedness (across groups). The findings of the current study also revealed significant positive associations between parental involvement and college preparedness. For the full study sample, high parental aspirations, positive parent-initiated school communication, and parental school involvement were all significant positive predictors of college preparedness among high school seniors. The findings from the gender analyses, however, suggest student gender may moderate the effect of PI on college preparedness. The findings of this study also revealed that the total causal effect of varsity sport participation on college preparedness is largely direct. Future research should now examine other potential mediators of athletic participation and student academic success.


African American Parental Involvement; African American College-preparedness