Social Integration and Students’ Perceptions of the Transition to Middle School

Kathleen M. Day, Jill V. Hamm, Kerrylin Lambert, Thomas W. Farmer


Aspects of students’ social integration early in the middle school transition year were examined in relation to their perceptions of their overall transition experience at the end of 6th grade. Participants included 898 students (56.2% female, 29.2% minority) enrolled in 15 rural middle schools across the United States who were affiliated with a peer group. Perceptions of the transition and indicators of students’ social integration were collected through survey and peer nomination procedures. Most students rated their transition positively. Results of the two-level hierarchical linear modeling analysis with cumulative proportional odds models indicated that students who were female, had greater school belonging, and were affiliated with a central peer group were more likely to view the transition favorably after controlling for fifth grade risk of adjustment difficulties. Examination of an interaction effect indicated that White male students were the most likely to perceive an easy transition. Implications for future study are discussed.

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

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