South-Asian American and Asian-Indian Americans Parents: Children's Education and Parental Participation

Sahil Ashwin Shah, Walden University


Parental participation supports students' academic success and increases positive peer interactions. Prior to the 1980s, parental participation was viewed as a unidimensional construct; however, it has since been understood as a multidimensional one. Studies from Epstein have demonstrated that culture, community, and family structures are some of the many factors that affect parental participation. In addition, Huntsinger and Jose have demonstrated that Asian-American parents participate in their children's education differently than do European Americans, yet research has not examined the specificities of South-Asian Americans' (SAAs) and Asian-Indian Americans' (AIAs) parental involvement. There are 6 recognized methods that parents can use to participate in their child's education. Assuming that the methods of participation used by parents can affect their children's academic performance and social development, the purpose of this study was to examine these methods of parental participation with respect to AIAs and SAAs. Using Epstein's questionnaire, 308 AIA/SAA parents were recruited who had a child born in the United States and who was attending a U.S. school between kindergarten and Grade 2 at the time of the study. MANOVA and ANOVA tests were used to calculate whether a significant difference existed amongst the 6 methods of parental participation, based on the gender of the parent or the gender of the child. There was no significant preference among the 6 methods of parental participation, nor was any difference found that related to the gender of the child. However, the results indicated that mothers were more involved than fathers in their child's education, although there was no preference among the 6 methods. Given the lack of clear direction emergent in these findings, implications for future research to further the understanding of parental participation of SAA/AIA are discussed.