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The impact of personal background and school contextual factors on academic competence and mental health functioning across the primary-secondary school transition
School of Occupational Therapy and Social Work, Centre for Research into Disability and Society, Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute, Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia, Australia.
School of Pharmacy, Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute, Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia, Australia.
Jönköping University, School of Health and Welfare, HHJ. CHILD.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0756-6862
School of Occupational Therapy and Social Work, Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute, Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia, Australia.
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2014 (English)In: PLoS ONE, ISSN 1932-6203, E-ISSN 1932-6203, Vol. 9, no 3, 1-13 p., e89874Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Students negotiate the transition to secondary school in different ways. While some thrive on the opportunity, others are challenged. A prospective longitudinal design was used to determine the contribution of personal background and school contextual factors on academic competence (AC) and mental health functioning (MHF) of 266 students, 6-months before and after the transition to secondary school. Data from 197 typically developing students and 69 students with a disability were analysed using hierarchical linear regression modelling. Both in primary and secondary school, students with a disability and from socially disadvantaged backgrounds gained poorer scores for AC and MHF than their typically developing and more affluent counterparts. Students who attended independent and mid-range sized primary schools had the highest concurrent AC. Those from independent primary schools had the lowest MHF. The primary school organisational model significantly influenced post-transition AC scores; with students from Kindergarten--Year 7 schools reporting the lowest scores, while those from the Kindergarten--Year 12 structure without middle school having the highest scores. Attending a school which used the Kindergarten--Year 12 with middle school structure was associated with a reduction in AC scores across the transition. Personal background factors accounted for the majority of the variability in post-transition AC and MHF. The contribution of school contextual factors was relatively minor. There is a potential opportunity for schools to provide support to disadvantaged students before the transition to secondary school, as they continue to be at a disadvantage after the transition.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 9, no 3, 1-13 p., e89874
National Category
Humanities Medical and Health Sciences
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URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-25387DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0089874ISI: 000332485800011PubMedID: 24608366Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84897552684Local ID: HHJCHILDIS, HLKCHILDISOAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-25387DiVA: diva2:773332
Available from: 2014-12-18 Created: 2014-12-18 Last updated: 2017-12-05Bibliographically approved

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