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Pupil mental health, concerns and expectations about secondary school as predictors of adjustment across the transition to secondary school: A longitudinal multi-informant study

Rice, Frances, Ng-Knight, Terry, Riglin, Lucy, Powell, Victoria, Moore, Graham F., McManus, Chris I., Shelton, Katherine H. and Frederickson, Norah 2021. Pupil mental health, concerns and expectations about secondary school as predictors of adjustment across the transition to secondary school: A longitudinal multi-informant study. School Mental Health 13 , pp. 279-298. 10.1007/s12310-021-09415-z

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Abstract

The transition from primary to secondary schooling is challenging and involves a degree of apprehension. The extent to which pre-existing mental health difficulties, as well as pupil, parent, and teacher concerns and expectations about secondary school predict adaptation to secondary school, is unclear. In a three wave, prospective longitudinal study, we examined associations between pre-transition concerns and expectations about moving to secondary school with mental health difficulties and demographic factors. We then evaluated whether these constructs predicted multiple indicators of adaptive pupil functioning at the end of the first year of secondary school (academic attainment, classmate behaviour rating, school liking and loneliness at school). We found children’s concerns reduced across the transition period. Concurrent associations were identified between both concerns about secondary school and lower parent and teacher expectations that children would settle in well at secondary school, with mental health difficulties and special educational needs. Investigating associations with multiple indicators of adaptive functioning at secondary school, multivariable regression analyses controlling for a range of baseline factors (e.g. special educational needs), found children’s concerns about secondary school to be specifically associated with loneliness. In contrast, children’s mental health difficulties and both parent and teacher expectations of how well children would settle into secondary school were associated with a wider range of indicators of adaptive functioning at secondary school. When examining all predictors simultaneously, primary school teacher expectations showed longitudinal association with a wide range of indicators of successful transition. These findings suggest that assessing primary school teacher expectations may be useful for monitoring and supporting pupils through this transition period and could usefully inform school-based interventions to support transition and mental health.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Medicine
Psychology
Additional Information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
Publisher: Springer Verlag (Germany)
ISSN: 1866-2625
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 7 December 2020
Date of Acceptance: 27 November 2020
Last Modified: 25 May 2021 12:37
URI: http://orca.cardiff.ac.uk/id/eprint/136847

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