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Middle School Transition Stress: Links with Academic Performance, Motivation, and School Experiences

Abstract

The present study investigates links between early adolescents’ subjective experiences of stress associated with the middle school transition and their academic outcomes. Seventh and eighth grade students (N = 774) were surveyed about their experiences during their transition to middle school. Students answered questions about stress associated with the transition to middle school, the extent to which their friendships had changed over the course of the transition, and a variety of academic outcomes including academic performance, school bonding, and academic motivation. Results indicate that higher amounts of middle school transition stress predict lower grades, higher school anxiety, and lower school bonding. Moreover, transition stress predicted academic outcomes regardless of whether adolescents were in a stable friendship group across the transition to middle school. Results are discussed in light of implications for promoting positive social and academic development across the transition to middle school.

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Correspondence to Sara E. Goldstein.

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Goldstein, S.E., Boxer, P. & Rudolph, E. Middle School Transition Stress: Links with Academic Performance, Motivation, and School Experiences. Contemp School Psychol 19, 21–29 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40688-014-0044-4

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s40688-014-0044-4

Keywords

  • Middle school transition
  • Early adolescence
  • Academic achievement