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24-05-2017 | Empirical Research | Uitgave 10/2017

Journal of Youth and Adolescence 10/2017

The Role of Ego-Resiliency as Mediator of the Longitudinal Relationship between Family Socio-Economic Status and School Grades

Journal of Youth and Adolescence > Uitgave 10/2017
Guido Alessandri, Antonio Zuffianò, Nancy Eisenberg, Concetta Pastorelli


Family socio-economic status (SES) represents one of the major determinants of youth’s scholastic achievement, and thus it is important to unravel the psychological factors underlining this relation. In this article, we examined youth’s ability to flexibly adapt and, thus, cope with harsh environmental conditions—assessed by the construct of ego-resiliency—as a mediating mechanism in the across-time association between family SES and academic achievement. The longitudinal sample was composed of 265 (56% females) Italian students who were about 13 years old at Time 1 (T1) and about 18 years old at Time 2 (T2). In a structural equation model analysis, family SES significantly predicted ego-resiliency 6 years later while controlling for the latter’s strong longitudinal stability. Students’ school grades at the end of senior high school were also predicted by ego-resiliency assessed at the age of 13, controlling for grades in the last year of junior high school, gender, and initial differences in ages. In accordance with the posited hypothesis, this study provided support for a two-wave meditational model in which the relation between family SES at 13 years and later school grades at 19 years was mediated by ego-resiliency. All in all, results support the argument that being resilient, and thus being able to flexibly adapt one’s own emotional state and resultant behavior, matters to school success.

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