Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 40, Issue 9, pp 1077–1090 | Cite as

Stability and Change in Rural Youths’ Educational Outcomes Through the Middle and High School Years

Empirical Research


There is a dearth of literature that examines rural youths’ school transition and adaptation over the middle and high school years. Given rural education challenges, this study examines rural youths’ developmental trajectories of self-reported grades and affective and behavioral educational outcomes (i.e., school belonging, value of education, school misbehavior, and extracurricular activity participation). The cohort-sequential study consisted of 3,312 African American and White youth (50% female) who were surveyed over three and a half years, including the transition to high school. The results reveal significant changes in the outcomes from sixth to twelfth grade. For example, on average, school misbehavior increased over time while perceived school belonging decreased over time. Gender and race differences emerged; African American youth reported placing higher importance on education and less participation in school activities than White youth. The discussion focuses on the importance of examining rural adolescents’ educational pathways during the high school transition.


Rural Adolescents Middle school High school transition School and educational outcomes 



The research for this article was supported by a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) (R01 DA13459) awarded to principal investigators of the Context of Adolescent Substance Use Study, and the first author’s work was supported by a postdoctoral fellowship from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (5 T32 HD049325-04).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  2. 2.Department of Health Behavior and Health EducationThe University of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA

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