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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    International Journal of Public Health 09/2015; DOI:10.1007/s00038-015-0734-3 · 2.70 Impact Factor
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    • "According to Diener (1999), improving quality of life of individual is important for enriching an individual's overall well-being over time including as well as physical and mental health. There are reasons to believe that these assets can affect the health, whether it is school engagement (Bond, et al., 2007), resistance (Parto, 2011), peers (Walsh, et al., 2010), families (Rothon, Goodwin, & Stansfeld, 2012), and neighbourhood (van Voorhees, et al., 2008). In light of these established relationships between developmental assets and youth quality of life, little is known about the relationship between mental health and developmental assets in the context of youth living in suburban community. "
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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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