Child and family influences on adjustment to school: Differences between kindergarten, primary, and secondary student groups

Year: 1997

Author: Murray-Harvey, Rosalind, Slee, Phillip

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The focus of this study was children's adjustment to school. Three hundred and eighteen famailies provided information on a range of family variables that were hypothesized to impact on their kindergarten, primary school, or secondary school aged child's adjustment to school as rated by the child's teacher. With additional data obtained from the primary and secondary students, three path models were developed (based on kindergarten, primary and secondary data) to examine the interrelationship between child and family factors and the strength of their effect on adjustment to school. The results of model testing using path analysis revealed for the kindergarten group that parents' marital status exerted the strongest influence on children's adjustment to school. Family factors related to financial and occupational status, parents' age, and family cohesion impacted directly on secondary students' adjustment to school. For the primary school group, a different picture emerged depicting the influence of child rather than family variables on adjustment to school. It seems that through the school years, a different range of factors operate within the context of the family to affect children's adjustment to school.