Publication Date

Spring 2011

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Cheryl Chancellor-Freeland


Academic Confidence, Foster Youth, Gender, Social Support

Subject Areas



Finding the predictors for academic success is critical for foster youth to become productive citizens as adults. The purpose of this study was to investigate the role of social support in the academic confidence of transitional foster youth. Because the literature suggests men and women benefit from social support differentially, I also examined gender as the moderating variable for social support and academic confidence. A sample of 82 foster youth (15-18 years old) from San Joaquin County's Human Service Agency volunteered to participate. Participants were given the Student Perceived Availability of Social Support Questionnaire (SPASSQ) to assess their perceptions of the available social support from foster family, teachers, and peers. The Academic Efficacy Scale (AES) and the School Investment Inventory (SII) were used to assess academic confidence. Hierarchical and linear regression analyses and independent t-tests were conducted to examine the relationship between social support and academic confidence with gender as the moderating variable. Results were that overall social support positively predicted academic confidence, and this was particularly true for females when using AES. More specifically, the social support provided by foster parents was a strong predictor of academic confidence for girls. Teacher and peer support also had a positive impact on foster youths' academic confidence. These data support the hypotheses that social support positively predicts academic confidence and that female foster youth benefit more from social support.