Social and School Connectedness in Early Secondary School as Predictors of Late Teenage Substance Use, Mental Health, and Academic Outcomes

Centre for Adolescent Health, Royal Children's Hospital, Department of Paediatrics, University of Melbourne and Murdoch Children's Research Institute, Melbourne, Australia. <>
Journal of Adolescent Health (Impact Factor: 3.61). 05/2007; 40(4):357.e9-18. DOI: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2006.10.013
Source: PubMed


To examine associations between social relationships and school engagement in early secondary school and mental health, substance use, and educational achievement 2-4 years later.
School-based longitudinal study of secondary school students, surveyed at school in Year 8 (13-14-years-old) and Year 10 (16-years-old), and 1-year post-secondary school. A total of 2678 Year 8 students (74%) participated in the first wave of data collection. For the school-based surveys, attrition was <10%. Seventy-one percent of the participating Year 8 students completed the post-secondary school survey.
Having both good school and social connectedness in Year 8 was associated with the best outcomes in later years. In contrast, participants with low school connectedness but good social connectedness were at elevated risk of anxiety/depressive symptoms (odds ratio [OR]: 1.3; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.0, 1.76), regular smoking (OR: 2.0; 95% CI: 1.4, 2.9), drinking (OR: 1.7; 95% CI: 1.3, 2.2), and using marijuana (OR: 2.0; 95% CI: 1.6, 2.5) in later years. The likelihood of completing school was reduced for those with either poor social connectedness, low school connectedness, or both.
Overall, young people's experiences of early secondary school and their relationships with others may continue to affect their moods, their substance use in later years, and their likelihood of completing secondary school. Having both good school connectedness and good social connectedness is associated with the best outcomes. The challenge is how to promote both school and social connectedness to best achieve these health and learning outcomes.

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    • "In the school context, studies indicated that adolescents who perceive their relationship with teachers to be trusting (vertical social capital) were less likely to smoke (Maes and Lievens 2003; McLellan et al. 1999; Perra et al. 2012; Samdal et al. 2000). Similarly, a positive sense of belonging to school, perceived school connectedness , safeness and school autonomy have been found to act as protective factor for adolescents smoking (Bond et al. 2007; McLellan et al. 1999). In relation to perceived classmates' connectedness, support and acceptance (horizontal social capital), studies reported mixed results, with no clear association that have been established (Ennett et al. 2010; McLellan et al. 1999; Samdal et al. 2000). "
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    ABSTRACT: To analyze how dimensions of social capital at the individual level are associated with adolescent smoking and whether associations differ by socioeconomic status. Data were from the 'Health Behaviour in School-aged Children' study 2005/2006 including 6511 15-year-old adolescents from Flemish Belgium, Canada, Romania and England. Socioeconomic status was measured using the Family Affluence Scale (FAS). Social capital was indicated by friend-related social capital, participation in school and voluntary organizations, trust and reciprocity in family, neighborhood and school. We conducted pooled logistic regression models with interaction terms and tested for cross-national differences. Almost all dimensions of social capital were associated with a lower likelihood of smoking, except for friend-related social capital and school participation. The association of family-related social capital with smoking was significantly stronger for low FAS adolescents, whereas the association of vertical trust and reciprocity in school with smoking was significantly stronger for high FAS adolescents. Social capital may act both as a protective and a risk factor for adolescent smoking. Achieving higher levels of family-related social capital might reduce socioeconomic inequalities in adolescent smoking.
    International Journal of Public Health 09/2015; DOI:10.1007/s00038-015-0734-3 · 2.70 Impact Factor
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    • "These patterns are observed for students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 (Hancock et al., 2013). • Higher rates of absence are also associated with higher levels of social and emotional wellbeing problems for young children in kindergarten (Gottfried, 2014) • Students with diminished school connectedness, the extent to which students feel accepted, respected, included and supported by others at school, are at greater risk of a wide range of outcomes including poorer health and wellbeing, increased negative affect, elevated risk of anxiety or depressive symptoms, lower levels of achievement, and increased risk-taking behaviours such as substance use, and reduced violence (Dornbusch et al., 2001, Resnick et al., 1993, Shochet et al., 2006, Shochet et al., 2011, Bond et al., 2007). "
    08/2015; Commissioner for Children and Young People Western Australia., ISBN: 978-1-74052-337-0
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    • "associated with greater depression, perceptions of peer rejection, and increased problem behaviors such as aggression and substance use (e.g., Anderman, 2002; Bond et al., 2007; Gest, Welsh, & Domitrovich, 2005). "
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    ABSTRACT: Increasing attention is being given to the role of a positive school interpersonal climate in children’s school functioning and social–emotional development. Children’s perceptions are commonly used to measure the interpersonal school climate, but the individual and contextual characteristics that contribute to variation in children’s perceptions remain unclear. This study examines the direct and interactive effects of multiple individual child characteristics and school-level interpersonal climate on elementary schoolchildren’s perceptions of negative interpersonal climate and feeling afraid at school. Demographic, social–cognitive, behavioral, and academic characteristics are examined at the individual level. School context variables capturing interpersonal climate include school-level aggregated children’s perceptions of negative climate and teacher perceptions of student respect, safety and teacher affiliation. Data come from 4,016 4th graders from 83 public elementary schools. At the child level, results indicate that children’s empathy, victimization, and academic competence explained significant variation in at least 1 of the 2 outcomes in the expected direction. Girls also reported feeling more afraid. The associations for Black children between victimization and climate and behavioral problems and climate were weaker. For Hispanic children, the association was weaker between academic competence and feeling afraid and stronger between engagement and feeling afraid. At the school level, aggregated children’s perceptions of climate were most strongly associated with both outcomes. Teacher affiliation and teacher-rated student respect–safety moderated the association between engagement and children’s perceptions of negative interpersonal climate. These interactions are discussed in relation to existing theory and research, as are implications for policy and future research.
    Journal of Educational Psychology 03/2015; DOI:10.1037/edu0000027 · 3.52 Impact Factor
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