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Title: The wellbeing of adolescents during the primary-secondary school transition
Author: Mollart, Katherine
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2013
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The transition to secondary school can represent a significant life event for many adolescents and can adversely affect their psychological adjustment and wellbeing. Little is known about how adjustment to this transition can be facilitated for young people. The review paper critically evaluated the evidence-base for school transition programmes that target pupil's mental wellbeing. A keyword search of abstract databases was conducted and 20 studies were evaluated. The majority of studies could not conclude that their intervention improved mental wellbeing to a statistically significant level, and numerous methodological limitations weaken the existing evidence-base. However, the most promising areas of research pertain to intervening with the parents and teachers of adolescents experiencing school transition. Further research should investigate this further. The empirical paper employed a qualitative methodology to examine how adolescents make sense of and create meaning from their experience of going to boarding school, and to explore what can be done to facilitate this adjustment. Ten female and male adolescents were interviewed in their second year of attending boarding school. The interviews, analysed using lnterpretative Phenomenological Analysis, yielded three superordinate themes: 1) 'Home is where the heart is', which captures adolescents experiences of homesickness, the stronger relationships formed with their family, and the development of new attachment figures with their house matron and peers, 2) 'Living in a bubble', which reflects a feeling of being constrained at boarding school and an awareness of it being a hierarchical environment, and 3) 'Gaining familiarity with the place and just being me' as adolescents appeared to positively adjust over time. Results are discussed in terms of attachment, coping and adjustment theories and models of psychosocial development. Clinical and organisational implications for professionals working in boarding schools, as well as suggestions for future research arc discussed.
Supervisor: Canham, Louisa Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psych.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Teenagers ; Adolescent psychology ; Well-being ; Clinical child psychology ; adolescents ; primary-secondary ; wellbeing ; school ; transition