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Parents' strong networks not beneficial to all children: Study

English.news.cn   2014-03-10 20:21:22

BERLIN, March 10 (Xinhua) - Only children living in affluent neighborhoods benefit from their parents' strong networks, said a study from Berlin Social Science Center (WZB) on Monday.

The social contacts of the parents affect the academic success of their children, said the study.

Therefore, WZB researcher Anette Fasang investigated together with two American colleagues to find out how the parents' networks affect the educational careers of children in particular.

Their study shows that close contacts of the parents mainly benefit children in affluent neighborhoods.

In poorer districts, however, the contacts are disadvantageous to the children, as they reinforce the social inequality and prevent transmissibility.

The researchers analyzed data from about 10,000 young people and their parents from the U.S. National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health.

They defined educational success in terms of average grades at high school graduation and the probability to achieve such a degree.

Depending on how many children at a school live in poverty, strong networks of parents have either a favorable or restraining effect on the educational development of children.

At schools where more than 30 percent of students live in poverty, parents' closed networks reduce the probability of children to obtain the high school diploma by up to 5 percent, compared to the children whose parents have no contacts.

"Given the fact that the probability of obtaining a high school diploma is generally high, this is an unexpectedly strong effect," says Anette Fasang.

However, the study shows that at schools with a poverty rate of less than 10 percent, a regular exchange between the parents improves the grade point average and it is more likely that the children attain their school-leaving certificates.

But a poverty rate above 10 percent brings this positive influence of informal parents' networks to negative.

The study is published in the magazine "Sociological Forum" in March.

Editor: Shen Qing
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