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A prospective longitudinal study of the transition to secondary school: exploring risk and protective factors

Ng-Knight, T; (2015) A prospective longitudinal study of the transition to secondary school: exploring risk and protective factors. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

The transition to secondary school is an important developmental period that includes changes to children’s academic, physical, and social environments. This school transition also coincides with the average age for the onset of puberty. Most children express some concerns about this transition and a significant minority have ongoing difficulties after starting at secondary school. Drawing on a developmental psychopathology approach, this thesis aimed to outline a model for measuring successful transitions to secondary school and explore risk and protective factors related to ‘transition success’. Using data from a prospective, three-wave, multiple-informant longitudinal study of school transition, findings indicated that transition success is multidimensional, consisting of two broad domains of functioning at school: (1) academic and behavioural adjustment, and (2) school bonding. A number of risk and protective factors were identified for each domain. Particular attention was paid to the role of self-control, puberty, and social relationships (with parents and friends) as influences on children’s adjustment during this period. Self-control was found to decline over the transition and to predict children’s adjustment at secondary school. Support was found for parenting and puberty as influences on the development of children’s self-control over the transition. Aspects of children’s relationships over the transition were found to predict children’s adjustment at secondary school. For parent-child relationships, there were negative effects of maternal depression and parental hostility, and positive effects of parental warmth. Stable friendships were generally found to confer adjustment benefits but some negative effects were found when multiple low quality friendships were maintained over the transition. Overall the findings presented in this thesis advance understanding of the risk and protective factors associated with successful secondary school transitions, in particular, elucidating the nature of relationships between a number of individual-level and social-contextual factors.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: A prospective longitudinal study of the transition to secondary school: exploring risk and protective factors
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Keywords: School transition, Developmental psychology, Developmental psychopathology, Educational psychology, self-control, puberty, parenting, friendships, transition success, maternal depression, academic attainment, longitudinal
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1472008
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