Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Educational, School, and Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Lynda Brown Wright

Second Advisor

Dr. Tom Prout


Guided by the theoretical frameworks of Baumrind’s parenting style theory, interpersonal expectations, Self Determination Theory, and self-efficacy, this study examines factors that influence African American students’ GPA and motivation, specifically associations between parents’ and teachers’ control, warmth, and educational expectations and African American adolescents’ GPA, self-efficacy, and intrinsic motivation were examined. The moderating effects of neighborhood safety on the aforementioned associations were also assessed. Using data from the Educational Longitudinal Study of 2002, this study found that parents’ warmth and expectations were positive predictors of all educational variables, while parents control was a negative predictor of GPA and intrinsic motivation. Teachers’ warmth was a positive predictor of GPA and intrinsic motivation, and teachers’ expectations were positive predictor of self-efficacy. Lastly, teachers’ control was a positive predictor of self-efficacy. Neighborhood safety did not moderate associations. Findings suggest that African American students’ academic development can be enhanced by interventions that target relational interactions.