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Article 16 -Prevention During School Transitions.doc

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University of Guelph
PSYC 3690
Benjamin Gottlieb

1 Article 16 –Prevention During School Transitions: Social Support and Environmental Structure (Felnes, Ginter & Primavera, 1982) Abstract -Nature and evaluation of a primary prevention project for students during transitions to high school -In order to facilitate students’ coping efforts, project sought to increase level of social support available and reduce degree of flux and complexity in school setting -Mid and end of 9 grade assessments were done to compare program and control groups and 8 and 8 grade attendance examined th -By end of 9 grade program group had sig. better attendance rates and higher GPAs and more stable self concepts -By final evaluation, project group reported perceiving school environment as having greater clarity of expectations and organizational structure and higher levels of teacher support/involvement Notes -Individuals experiencing stressful life events or life transitions have been pointed to as potentially important groups toward which to target primary preventive efforts -Preventive efforts are organized around stressful life events or life transitions which have a high base-rate of occurrence in the gen pop and which place individuals at heightened risk of maladaptation -School transfers are related to poorer academic achievement, heightened anxiety about gaining peer acceptance and meeting school expectations, and increased classroom behaviour problems -Changes in academic adjustment during transition to high school were examined, significant decreases in academic performance and increases in absenteeism were found -Strong predictors of later school failure, dropping out, and serious emotional maladjustment -Students typically seen as being at heightened risk for school failure (ex. Minorities and those with histories of higher levels of mobility) were particularly vulnerable during this transition -Bronfenbrenner (1979) suggests that students changing schools are confronting “ecological transitions” involving adapting to both role and setting changes and that adjustment may be facilitated by characteristics of the settings being entered -Important to develop preventive efforts targeted at those entering high school to attend key aspects of the social environment which may be modified to facilitate students’ adaptation during this transition Strategy Mediator Outcome -Homeroom teacher act as -Psychological characteristics -Better attendance link to admin and parents (personal competences, -Higher GPA -Increase the amount of coping style) -Enhanced self instrumental and affective -Situational/Environmental concept social support from a Factors (availability and -Better perception of school-based source accessibility of instrumental school (more (teacher) and affective social support, clarity/organization) -Reorganize regularities of difficulties and complexities of -Perceived more 2 school (avoid shifting peer the task confronting the teacher groups and increase individual) support/involvement student sense of -Increase students’ feelings of belonging by placing with accountability and decrease other project students – their sense of anonymity also increase sense of -Reduce the difficulty with school as more organized) which students Goals: -Improve social support and environmental structure of school to help students in transitions -Reduce flux and complexity of transition to high school -Improve academic achievement, decrease anxiety about gaining peer acceptance and meeting school expectations and classroom behaviour problems Who Benefits -All students in the entering class are simultaneously confronted by a new physical environment and a larger and generally unfamiliar set of peers and school personnel -Student’s mastery of transitional tasks, such as gaining an understanding of the school’s expectations and regularities, or reconstructing and reorganizing their formal/informal support systems Classification Selective: transition students known to be at risk for maladjustment and school failure but not yet diagnosed as experiencing problems Primary: goal is to prevent problems with academic performance
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