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Pupil Mental Health, Concerns and Expectations About Secondary School as Predictors of Adjustment Across the Transition to Secondary School: A Longitudinal Multi-informant Study

Rice, F; Ng-Knight, T; Riglin, L; Powell, V; Moore, GF; McManus, IC; Shelton, KH; (2021) Pupil Mental Health, Concerns and Expectations About Secondary School as Predictors of Adjustment Across the Transition to Secondary School: A Longitudinal Multi-informant Study. School Mental Health 10.1007/s12310-021-09415-z. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

The transition from primary to secondary schooling is challenging and involves a degree of apprehension. The extent to which pre-existing mental health difficulties, as well as pupil, parent, and teacher concerns and expectations about secondary school predict adaptation to secondary school, is unclear. In a three-wave, prospective longitudinal study, we examined associations between pre-transition concerns and expectations about moving to secondary school with mental health difficulties and demographic factors. We then evaluated whether these constructs predicted multiple indicators of adaptive pupil functioning at the end of the first year of secondary school (academic attainment, classmate behaviour rating, school liking and loneliness at school). We found children’s concerns reduced across the transition period. Concurrent associations were identified between both concerns about secondary school and lower parent and teacher expectations that children would settle in well at secondary school, with mental health difficulties and special educational needs. Investigating associations with multiple indicators of adaptive functioning at secondary school, multivariable regression analyses controlling for a range of baseline factors (e.g. special educational needs), found children’s concerns about secondary school to be specifically associated with loneliness. In contrast, children’s mental health difficulties and both parent and teacher expectations of how well children would settle into secondary school were associated with a wider range of indicators of adaptive functioning at secondary school. When examining all predictors simultaneously, primary school teacher expectations showed longitudinal association with a wide range of indicators of successful transition. These findings suggest that assessing primary school teacher expectations may be useful for monitoring and supporting pupils through this transition period and could usefully inform school-based interventions to support transition and mental health.

Type: Article
Title: Pupil Mental Health, Concerns and Expectations About Secondary School as Predictors of Adjustment Across the Transition to Secondary School: A Longitudinal Multi-informant Study
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1007/s12310-021-09415-z
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12310-021-09415-z
Language: English
Additional information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Keywords: Transition, Attainment, Longitudinal, Mental health, School
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > UCL Medical School
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10125447
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