School Bonding Important Factor In Young People's Development

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2nd November 2009, 05:57pm - Views: 482

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School bonding important factor in young people’s development

How teenagers feel about school directly impacts how successful they are likely to be later in life, a new

study has revealed.

The study finds that school bonding is a critical factor in helping young people to ‘do well’, even when other

factors such as family and peer relationships and personality are taken into consideration.

It looked at what factors enable young people to succeed in the stage of life psychologists refer to as

‘emerging adulthood’; the period between 18 and 25. It stresses the abundance of choice now available to

young people means that, while this period is a time of opportunity and freedom for some young people,

for others it can be very challenging.

Meredith O’Connor, who is currently completing a Doctorate of Educational Psychology in the University of

Melbourne’s Graduate School of Education, wrote the report. She believes schools should work to ensure

all young people feel involved in order to promote positive developmental outcomes.

“The period of ‘emerging adulthood’ is a relatively new phenomenon. We no longer have the traditional

structures of the past, where there was a clear pathway from education into employment and family life.

We now have much more choice – which is, overall, a good thing. However, for some people, this

abundance of choice and lack of support structures makes it very difficult to negotiate the next steps in life

after school.

“If a person has felt ‘bonded’ to their school; that is, they feel good about school, connected to school and

invested in their schoolwork, they are much more likely to be able to negotiate emerging adulthood than

people who feel disconnected from school.”

The study examined ‘doing well’ in emerging adulthood according to five factors: civic engagement, social

competence, satisfaction with life, trust in other people and tolerance of differences, and trust in public


It used data from the Australian Temperament Project, a large community-based study which has been

collecting data on a large group of Victorian individuals since they were born in 1983. The Project is based

at the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) and involves researchers from the University of


For interview: Meredith O’Connor: / 0431482113

Education media contact: Catriona May:, (03) 8344 3357

University of Melbourne media contact: Katherine Smith:, direct line: (03) 8344


Media Alert

Attention: Newsdesk/education editors

For immediate release

Monday 2 November

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