An empirical test of a model of academic expectations among youth in residential care

Eran Melkman, Tehila Refaeli, Rami Benbenishty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


In the last decade accumulating evidence across many countries points to the poor educational outcomes of youth formerly placed in care and their under-representation in higher education. Academic expectations in late adolescence are considered a key marker for educational attainments in young adulthood. Although these expectations were studied extensively, they have seldom been examined among youth in substitute care. The goal of the present research was to develop and test a model to predict academic expectations of Israeli adolescents placed in residential facilities. The study sample consisted of 1360 adolescents from 34 youth villages who responded to self-report questionnaires tapping their academic expectations, current academic achievements and various aspects of their family, school and facility's environment, expected to be associated with their academic expectations.Structural equation modeling indicated that parents' level of education was indirectly related to youths' expectations, an association mediated by youth's current academic achievements and parents' aspirations for their children's educational success. Higher levels of teacher and staff support were also found to contribute to higher academic expectations; however, whereas teacher support effects were mediated by youth achievements, staff support was found to have direct, as well as moderating effects, on achievement-expectations relationship.The findings suggest the importance of an integrative approach in the efforts to promote educational expectations among adolescents in residential facilities. Such an approach, encompassing the multiple adult functions responsible for youth development within such settings, could be an important step in enhancing the chances for future academic success of this vulnerable group.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-141
Number of pages9
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier Ltd.


This study was funded by Jacob's Foundation (Grant # 2011–920 ) .

FundersFunder number
Jacob's Foundation2011–920


    • Academic expectations
    • Israel
    • Residential care
    • Staff support
    • Teacher support


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