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Longitudinal Antecedents of School Bonding in Adolescence

  • Gill Terrett (a1), Meredith O'Connor (a2), Mary T. Hawkins (a2), Ann Sanson (a2) and Diana Smart (a3)...


School bonding has been identified as a protective factor for a broad range of adolescent outcomes, and it is thus important to identify factors that foster positive relationships with school. The ecological perspective suggests the importance of both individual and contextual antecedents across developmental periods, yet previous research has tended to examine only a narrow selection of school bonding correlates. This study sought to identify longitudinal influences on school bonding, examining the role of both individual and contextual factors over childhood and early adolescence. We draw on data from 1,308 participants (51% female) in the Australian Temperament Project, a large representative Australian sample that has followed the psychosocial development of participants from infancy to adulthood, and thus provides a rare opportunity to address this gap in the literature. Path analysis was conducted to examine individual and contextual predictors of school bonding at 15–16 years. The individual characteristics of higher academic achievement and sociability, and lower hyperactivity predicted school bonding. Contextual factors also made a significant contribution, including the parent–child relationships and maternal education. The results indicate that both individual and contextual factors make unique contributions to school bonding in adolescence, suggesting a number of potential targets for intervention.


Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Gill Terrett, School of Psychology, Australian Catholic University, Melbourne Campus, Locked Bag 4115, Fitzroy, MDC VIC 3065, Australia. E-mail:


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