Studying parental involvement and university access and choice: An 'interacting multiple capitals' model

Fang GAO, Jacky Chi Kit NG

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)


Capital-embedded parental involvement in education is essential in enhancing university enrolment and maximising the educational potentials for equality and excellence. Previous studies in this field have mainly utilised Perna's (2000, 2006) model, which defines parental involvement as social capital and identifies the additive influences of different types of capital (including social, economic and cultural capital) on university access and choice. Yet, little research to date theorises and disaggregates the interplay among various types of capital as well as the multiplicative capital effects on enrolment. This study addressed this gap. We proposed an 'interacting multiple capitals' (IMC) model and hypothesised that parental social capital could moderate the effects of cultural and economic capital on entry to university. To validate the model, a pilot survey was administered to 216 university students of Korean ethnicity in China and investigated the models of involvement adopted by Korean parents in the context of the increasing labour mobility of the Korean adult population. Moderated multiple regression analysis was employed and the results confirmed the hypothesis that capital effects upon university access and choice were multiplicative in nature, with social capital moderating the cultural capital influence on students’ educational aspirations. The study findings show that the interaction of various types of capital variables is sufficiently statistically significant to warrant future research and policy and practical discussion of how to promote parental involvement in university preparation and planning. Copyright © 2017 British Educational Research Association.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1206-1224
JournalBritish Educational Research Journal
Issue number6
Early online dateJul 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017



Gao, F., & Ng, J. C. K. (2017). Studying parental involvement and university access and choice: An 'interacting multiple capitals' model. British Educational Research Journal, 43(6), 1206–1224. doi: 10.1002/berj.3298


  • Interacting multiple capitals model
  • Parental involvement
  • University access and choice
  • Ethnic Koreans