Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 47, Issue 6, pp 1192–1207 | Cite as

Positive Developmental Changes after Transition to High School: Is Retrospective Growth Correlated with Measured Changes in Current Status of Personal Growth?

  • Shuhei IimuraEmail author
  • Kanako Taku
Empirical Research


The transition to high school is generally considered as a stressful turning point in adolescent development, but some students experience personal growth (i.e., positive developmental changes) through that experience. It is important to examine the mechanism behind such positive changes to understand various developmental patterns of adolescents during the transition. However, the concept of growth in this research area remains unexplored. Some researchers have questioned whether retrospective, self-reported growth reflects actual positive changes in the perception of personal growth. We elaborated on the concept of growth after high school transition by examining whether retrospective appraisal of personal growth after transition to high school is correlated with measured change in growth. Two hundred and sixty-two Japanese adolescents (aged 14–16 years, 50% girls) participated in surveys right before and right after transition. We assessed five domains of growth, including improved relating to others, identification of new possibilities, increased sense of personal strength, spiritual growth, and greater appreciation of life. The results showed that retrospective assessment of growth and measured change during transition were positively associated, provided the adolescents reported the transition as an important turning point in their lives. Adolescents who experienced salient positive changes across the transition were more likely to engage in intrusive and deliberate rumination and social support than adolescents who reported fewer changes. In summary, retrospective growth covaried with measured change only when adolescents perceived the transition as impactful in their lives.


School transition Posttraumatic growth Event centrality Latent change score modeling Rumination Social support 



This study was supported by Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research in Japan (Grant Numbers JP16J01937). The grants provide financial support for creative and pioneering research projects that will become the foundation of social development.

Authors’ Contributions

S.I. conceived of the study, participated in its design and coordination, performed the statistical analyses, and drafted the manuscript; K.T. conceived of the study, participated in its design and coordination, and assisted in drafting the manuscript; all authors have read and approved the final manuscript.


This study was funded by Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research in Japan (Grant Numbers JP16J01937) to the first author.

Data Sharing Declaration

The datasets generated and/or analyzed during the current study are not publicly available, but can be obtained from the corresponding author on request only after this research project (Adolescent Development during Transition to High School Project) is complete.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

This study was approved by the institutional review board of Chuo University (approval number: 2017-4).

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained, on an online form, from all participants.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyChuo UniversityTokyoJapan
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyOakland UniversityRochesterUSA

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