Exploring the Protective and Promotive Effects of School Connectedness on the Relation between Psychological Health Risk and Problem Behaviors/Experiences

Michael Furlong, Jill Sharkey, Matthew Quirk, Erin Dowdy


The broad construct of school connectedness has been identified as a developmental protective factor due to its
association with lower involvement in a variety of problem behaviors. However, resilience research differentiates
between protective (lower frequency of problem behaviors primarily in the presence of high risk) and promotive
(lower frequency of problem behaviors primarily in conditions of low risk) developmental influences, and this
has been an understudied aspect of school connectedness. This study examined the potential protective and
promotive influences of school connectedness in a sample of 3,220 students in Grades 8, 10, and 12 from four
California school districts. These youths completed self-reports of their psychological health risk, perceptions of
school connectedness, and involvement in problem behaviors/experiences. Taking a person-focused data analysis
approach, a series of multinomial logistic regressions found that although school connectedness was protective
for involvement in problem behaviors/experiences, more support was found for its promotive influences.
Implications for research and practice are discussed.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5539/jedp.v1n1p18


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Journal of Educational and Developmental Psychology   ISSN 1927-0526 (Print)   ISSN 1927-0534 (Online)

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