Family Conflict and Academic Performance of First-Year Asian American Undergraduates

Nazneen F. Bahrassa, Moin Syed, Jenny Su, Rich Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


This three-study investigation examined risk and protective factors for poor academic performance among Asian American first-year undergraduates. Students were surveyed prior to starting college and their GPA was collected after their first semester in college. Family conflict as a significant risk factor for poor academic performance was examined in all three studies. The results indicate that higher family conflict prior to college was related to lower first-semester college GPA, after controlling for standardized test scores and high school rank (Studies 1-3). Even though psychological distress was related to both family conflict and GPA, it did not mediate the relationship between family conflict and GPA (Studies 2 and 3). In terms of protective factors, the results indicate that life satisfaction buffered the negative effects of family conflict on first-semester college GPA (Study 3). Together, these findings support the need to take into account family variables and psychological well-being in the academic performance of Asian American students as they transition from high school to college.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)415-426
Number of pages12
JournalCultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2011


  • Academic performance
  • Asian American
  • College students
  • Family conflict
  • Psychological distress


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