The Relationship of Family Closeness with College Students' Self-Regulated Learning and School Adjustment

Article excerpt

Family is a key factor to one's development. Family closeness is thus fundamental to the development of happy and competent children and adults. Self-regulated learners usually exhibit greater academic performance. Students who adjust well to school settings build confidence toward learning and exhibit appropriate school behavior. This paper examines the correlations among family closeness, self-regulated learning, and school adjustment in college students. The self-reported questionnaires were distributed to 196 junior-level students. The results showed that family closeness was positively correlated to students' self-regulated learning skills. Those students rating their family as more close also exhibited a greater ability to adjust to their schools. These findings are discussed in terms of their implications for attachment theory, self-regulated learning, and school adjustment in college students.

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Many researchers focus their studies on specifying how the features of students' learning environments influence their development, but relatively few researchers have examined the role of the family in context with fostering or impeding the development of self-regulation skills (Strage, 1998). Though peers exert great influence on adolescents, the family remains an important factor to their development (Kingon & O'Sullivan, 2001), including but not limited to deviant behavior, academic performance (Farrell, Barnes, & Banerjee, 1995; Favorini & Pryor, 1994, Fischer, 2003; Kenny, Gallagher, Alvarez-Salvat, and Silsby's, 2002), substance use (Baumrind, 1991; Guo, Hill, Hawkins, Catalano, & Abbott, 2002; Hawkins, Catalano, & Miller, 1992; Miles, Silberg, Pickens, & Eaves, 2005), school adjustment (Aspinwall & Taylor, 1992; Ben-David, Leichtentritt, 1999; Chartrand, 1992), and life stress (Rutter, 1987)..

The theoretical framework of family influence may be traced back from attachment theory (Bowlby, 1969, 1973, 1982; Ainsworth, Bell, & Stayton, 1971; Ainsworth, Blehar, Waters, & Wall, 1978). Based on Bowlby's attachment theory (1973), children gain self-esteem and sense of competence by interacting with caregivers, who consistently recognize and respond with sensitivity to their children needs for comfort, security, and independent exploration. Research revealed that those who had stronger family attachments also had a higher level of family relation/closeness (Imamoglu & Imamoglu, 2006). The study defined family closeness, referred to from previous research, as children's feeling about parental warmth and involvement, and the relationship between parent and children (Strage, 1998). Thus, the higher level of family closeness, the warmer the children felt toward their family, and the better relationship among the family members.

Family Closeness

Research has revealed that the quality of secure attachment is positive relative to students' academic learning (Kenny, Gallagher, Alvarez-Salvat, and Silsby, 2002). Family closeness is important to children's development has long been proved in family system studies. For example, many children from divorced families were found to have more behavioral problems, less social competence, more psychological suffering, and less surplus learning, compared to those children from intact families (Garmezy, Masten, & Tellegen, 1984; Gersten, Langner, Einsenberg, & Simcha-Fagan, 1977; Rutter, 1983). Chen (2000) reported that those 5th to 7th graders in elementary school in Taiwan with closer family relationships had better abilities to adjust in school than their counterparts with less close relationships. Pianta, Egeland, & Sroufe (1990) postulated that mothers who provided an emotionally warm home climate fostered competent first-grade outcome for girls. Other scholar also investigated how different level of family closeness related to adolescent delinquencies (Chen, 1995). The relationships between college students' family closeness, their use of self-regulated learning skills, and family closeness with regard to school adjustment were not well documented. …