Students' perceptions of school climate during the middle school years: Associations with trajectories of psychological and behavioral adjustment

Niobe Way, Ranjini Reddy, Jean Rhodes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

A cross-domain latent growth curve model was used to examine the trajectories of change in student perceptions of four critical dimensions of school climate (i.e., teacher support, peer support, student autonomy in the classroom, and clarity and consistency in school rules and regulations) among 1,451 early adolescents from the beginning of sixth through the end of eighth grade; and the effects of such trajectories on the rate of change in psychological and behavioral adjustment. Findings indicated that all of the dimensions of perceived school climate declined over the 3 years of middle school. Furthermore, declines in each of the dimensions of perceived school climate were associated with declines over time in psychological and behavioral adjustment. Moreover, the direction of effects between each dimension of perceived school climate and psychological or behavioral adjustment were often unidirectional rather than bi-directional, underscoring the role of perceived school climate in the psychological and behavioral health of early adolescents. Gender and socioeconomic class differences in these patterns are noted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)194-213
Number of pages20
JournalAmerican journal of community psychology
Volume40
Issue number3-4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2007

Keywords

  • Adolescent adjustment
  • Latent growth curve modeling
  • Middle school
  • School climate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Applied Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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