Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Human Resource Education and Workforce Development

First Advisor

Barbara A. Holt


The role that family involvement and the effects of home efforts have on improved student achievement for children is well documented in the literature. The purpose of this study was to determine whether family support should be considered when planning adult basic education (ABE) programs. The objectives addressed were: demographic characteristics, level of family support, and relationship of family support among selected variables. A statewide random sample of 197 adult basic education students was surveyed (82.7% response rate). Persisters (students who either completed the ABE program or were continuing their instruction when the study was conducted) and non-persisters (students who had dropped out of the ABE program) were studied. Variables examined included: selected demographic characteristics; persistence in ABE programs; the most important reason for entering the ABE program; employment status; and pychological, family responsibilities, and financial family support sub-components. The majority of Louisiana's ABE students were single Black females living with their mothers. Most of the students who had dropped out of the ABE programs did so for financial reasons, and a large percentage of the students were unemployed. The average age of the students was 28 years and their average family income was slightly above the national average poverty threshold. No significant relationships were found among gender, race, employment, and all of the reasons given for entering the ABE program except one. A significant relationship was found between persisters and non-persisters on the variable, "Get a job." Persisters were more likely to give this reason for entering the ABE program than were non-persisters. The results of the study indicate that focusing on education to enhance career opportunities could be a determining factor in keeping adults in an educational setting. Ideas and suggestions were given for more research directions and for planners of ABE programs.