The transition to junior high school: a longitudinal study of self-esteem, psychological symptomatology, school life, and social support.

B. J. Hirsch, B. D. Rapkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

208 Scopus citations


This research examined the psychological well-being of 159 white and black students during the transition to junior high school. Adjustment patterns were found to be complex and highly differentiated. Self-esteem was unchanged from the end of sixth through the middle of seventh grades, rising by the end of seventh grade. Girls reported an increase in depressive and other symptoms over time relative to boys. Perceived quality of school life plunged. Peer social support increased only for blacks of high academic competence. Although there were no race differences on overall self-esteem, multivariate analyses of symptom data revealed that blacks reported greater distrust of the environment than they reported negative internal states, whereas whites reported the opposite pattern. The discussion emphasizes the developmental and ecological context of the transition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1235-1243
Number of pages9
JournalChild development
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1987
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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