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The role of school enjoyment and connectedness in the association between depressive and externalising symptoms and academic attainment: Findings from a UK prospective cohort study

Cadman, Tim, Hughes, Amanda, Wright, Caroline, López-López, José A., Morris, Tim, Rice, Frances, Smith, George Davey and Howe, Laura D. 2021. The role of school enjoyment and connectedness in the association between depressive and externalising symptoms and academic attainment: Findings from a UK prospective cohort study. Journal of Affective Disorders 295 , pp. 974-980. 10.1016/j.jad.2021.08.043

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Abstract

Background Previous research on the relationship between children's depressive and externalising symptoms, experience of school, and academic attainment is inconclusive. The aims of this study were (i) to test bidirectional associations between children's school experience and depressive and externalising symptoms at age 10-11 and 13-14, (ii) to ascertain whether school experience age 13-14 is associated with academic attainment age 16, and (iii) to test whether school experience mediates the relationship between depressive or externalising symptoms and attainment. Methods Data was used from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (n=6,409). A cross-lagged model was used to investigate bidirectional associations between school experience (enjoyment and connectedness) and depression and externalising at age 10-11 and 13-14. The same framework was used to test if school experience aged 13-14 mediated associations of depressive and externalising symptoms with later attainment. Results Depressive and externalising symptoms at 10-11 were negatively associated with school connectedness (depressive: standardised β=-0.06, CI: -0.11, 0.01; externalizing: β=-0.13, CI: -0.17, -0.08), and school enjoyment at 13-14 (depressive β=-0.04, -0.08, 0.03; externalising: β=-0.08, CI: -0.13, -0.03). School enjoyment at 13-14 was positively associated with attainment at 16 (β=0.10, CI: 0.04, 0.15), and partially mediated associations between depressive and externalising symptoms at 10-11 and attainment at 16 (depressive: proportion mediated 2.2%, CI: -1.5, 5.9; externalising: proportion mediated; 4.7%, CI: 0.7, 10.1,). Limitations Results may be subject to residual confounding. Conclusions School enjoyment is a potentially modifiable risk factor that may affect educational attainment of adolescents with depressive or externalising symptoms.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics (CNGG)
Additional Information: This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0165-0327
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 23 February 2022
Date of Acceptance: 20 August 2021
Last Modified: 02 Mar 2022 10:30
URI: https://orca.cardiff.ac.uk/id/eprint/147769

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