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24-07-2020 | Empirical Research | Uitgave 11/2020

Journal of Youth and Adolescence 11/2020

Internalizing and Externalizing Behavior Problems and Student Engagement in Elementary and Secondary School Students

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Youth and Adolescence > Uitgave 11/2020
Auteurs:
Elizabeth Olivier, Alexandre J. S. Morin, Jessika Langlois, Kristel Tardif-Grenier, Isabelle Archambault
Belangrijke opmerkingen
These authors contributed equally: Elizabeth Olivier, Alexandre J. S. Morin

Supplementary information

The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s10964-020-01295-x) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Publisher’s note Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Abstract

Students with externalizing or internalizing behavior problems are at increased risk of underachievement and school non-completion, often due to their lower school engagement. Two studies were undertaken to assess the unique and joint (i.e., interactive) associations between behavior problems and engagement during two developmental periods; childhood and adolescence. These studies also aim to disentangle the contribution of global (externalizing and internalizing) and specific (hyperactivity/inattention, opposition/defiance, anxiety, depression) behavior problems on the global and specific aspects of student behavioral, emotional, and cognitive engagement. Study 1 was conducted among a sample of elementary school students (n = 1036; 3rd to 6th grade; mean age = 9.94 y.o.; 47.30% female; majority native Canadians) and Study 2 was conducted in secondary school (n = 1011; 7th and 8th grade; mean age = 12.93 y.o.; 55.77% female; 60.64% from immigrant background). Results of the bifactor-CFA and path analyses from both studies indicate that global externalizing behaviors were associated with lower global and specific behavioral engagement. In Study 1, global internalizing behaviors were also associated with lower global and specific cognitive engagement, whereas specific anxiety was associated with lower global and specific emotional engagement. In Study 2, specific depressive symptoms were associated with lower global and specific emotional engagement. Together, these two studies suggest that externalizing behaviors remain risk factors for student disengagement during childhood and adolescence, but that the risk posed by internalizing behaviors increases in importance for older students.

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