Article

Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 29, Issue 3, pp 289-306

First online:

Adolescents' Achievement Strategies, School Adjustment, and Externalizing and Internalizing Problem Behaviors

  • Kaisa AunolaAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Jyväskylä
  • , Håkan StattinAffiliated withDepartment of Social Science and Psychology, University of Örebro
  • , Jari-Erik NurmiAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Jyväskylä

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Abstract

The present study investigated the relationships between the achievement strategies adolescents deploy in a school context, and their self-esteem, school adjustment, and internalizing and externalizing problem behaviors. A total of 1185 14-to-15-year-old adolescents filled in the Strategy and Attribution Questionnaire (SAQ), Rosenberg's Self-Esteem Scale, and scales measuring school adjustment, depression and externalizing problem behavior. The adolescents' parents were also asked to evaluate their children's achievement strategies, school adjustment and, externalizing problem behavior. The results revealed that low self-esteem was associated with adolescents' use of maladaptive achievement strategies which, in turn, was associated with their maladjustment at school, and internalizing and externalizing problem behaviors. Moreover, the association between adolescents' maladaptive strategies and their externalizing problem behavior was partly mediated via their school adjustment. The results suggest that the achievement strategies adolescents deploy are reflected not only in their school adjustment but also in their overall problem behavior.