Perceptions of Foster Care Youth’s Academic Identity: Comparing Reports from Foster Parents and Former Foster Care Youth

Author: Molly Zydel
Major: Psychology
Approved: Fall 2017
Status: Completed

The purpose of this study was to examine the possible associations between academic self-efficacy, resilience, and academic expectations and attainment in Former Foster Care Youth (FFCY), as well as examine Foster Parents’’ (FPs) perceptions of Foster Care Youth (FCY) on these same constructs. Both FFCY and FP participants were recruited from surrounding social service agencies and community partners and were asked to complete an online survey. FFCY (N = 71, Mage = 36.38 years; SD = 13.69 years; 76.9% female) were asked to provide information regarding their own academic self-efficacy, resilience, academic expectations and attainment, and demographics. FPs (N = 22, Mage = 40.05 years; SD = 7.04 years) were asked their perceptions of FCY concerning academic self-efficacy, resilience, and academic expectations and attainment, and were also asked to provide their own demographic information. Significant associations were found for educational status on academic self-efficacy, such that FFCY who had acquired a degree reported higher perceptions of their academic self-efficacies, and resilience, such that FFCY who were currently enrolled in postsecondary education reported higher perceptions of their resilience. Furthermore, significant differences between FFCY and FPs reports of perceptions of academic self-efficacy, resilience, and intention to acquire a postsecondary degree, where FFCY reported higher perceptions of themselves across all constructs. Policies should be created with the intention of strengthening areas of resilience that FFCY perceive themselves as weaker in and continues to strengthen their overall resilience. Such a policy should also work with FPs to decrease the discrepancies between FPs and FFCY.