Intellectual Performance and Educational Attainment of Mexican Adolescents in Poverty


  • Amparo Victorio-Estrada
  • Joaquina Palomar-Lever


The objective of this study was to determine factors that can predict the intellectual performance and educational attainment of adolescents living in poverty. Data of Mexican adolescents from rural and urban areas (N = 1,093, 55.8% male, 61% urban) and their mothers were analyzed. The data came from a probabilistic sample with national representativeness of beneficiary households of the governmental program to fight poverty Oportunidades. Mothers and children were surveyed separately at home using questionnaires. Results from structural equations modeling revealed that higher intellectual performance was determined by older age, higher maternal intellectual performance and education, more adequate parenting practices, fewer siblings, and less insecure neighborhoods. Higher educational attainment was predicted by older age, higher intellectual performance, and more psychological resources. Data explained 25% of the variance of intellectual performance, and 39% of the variance of educational attainment. Results are discussed regarding the possibility of enhancing intellectual performance and education.