School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Lucinda Spaulding

Primary Subject Area

Education, Educational Psychology; Education, General; Education, Sociology of; Psychology, General; Sociology, Individual and Family Studies; Education, Secondary


continuity, grounded theory, influence, Middle school, parent participation, qualitative


Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Educational Psychology | Family, Life Course, and Society | Psychology


The purpose of this qualitative grounded theory study was to explore ways in which parents' past school experiences as adolescents influence their attitudes and behaviors toward their children's education. Three research questions related to parents' past experiences, current attitudes, and participation guided the study. Hope County School system (pseudonym), a suburban school system in the southeastern United States, was the setting for the study. Participants included 12 middle school parents. Three instruments were used for data collection: interviews, surveys, and reflective booklets. Data analysis was conducted using the grounded theory process of open coding, axial coding, and selective coding. From the results of data analysis, I generated a theoretical model of Identifying Influences. Stabilizing and Destabilizing influences, as well as Communicating influences, were identified as causal conditions that impact adolescents and their attitudes as adults. Findings related to strategies parents employ on a continuum of continuity and discontinuity were addressed. Results from this study contribute to the body of knowledge regarding school-family relationships. Implications for practice include using information from this study to more effectively communicate with parents and provide solid programs for students. The use of strategies such as peer review, pseudonyms, member checking, memoing, and an audit trail contributed to the trustworthiness of the study.