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This study examined (a) the associations between school connectedness and early adolescent adjustment problems over a 1 year period and (b) the equivalence of these associations across gender. Five hundred middle school students (53.4% female), initially in the 6th and 7th grades, participated in the two-wave study. Results from two-group cross-lagged panel analyses were consistent across boys’ and girls’ data. After controlling for baseline levels of adjustment problems, school connectedness predicted lower levels of early adolescent conduct problems 1 year later. Regarding the opposite direction of associations, and even after baseline levels of school connectedness were taken into account, conduct problems predicted lower levels of subsequent school connectedness. There were no cross-lagged associations between depressive symptoms and school connectedness, although elevated levels of baseline depressive symptoms predicted higher levels of subsequent conduct problems. Findings elaborate previous research by demonstrating that early adolescents actively shape the middle school environment.
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- Examining Temporal Associations Between School Connectedness and Early Adolescent Adjustment
Ken G. Ripperger-Suhler
Karissa D. Horton
- Springer US