The influence of significant others on adolescents' academic self-concept development

Date
1987-05
Authors
Guest, Betty Junkin
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Abstract

From the theoretical orientation of symbolic interaction, this study investigates adolescents' academic self-concept development as influenced by adolescents' perception of their academic ability by significant others. Data for the descriptive research were gathered by administering to the population of an upper-socioeconomic suburban high school a paper-and-pencil questionnaire, the Self-Concept of Academic Ability and Perceived Evaluations of Significant Others (Brookover, Patterson, & Thomas, 1962). From the 1287 responses obtained, 727 responses were selected by stratified random sampling to produce a sample representative of the population by grade level (9, 10, 11, 12), sex, and English class level of academic intensity (less intensive, regular, advanced).

At probability levels less than .001, Pearson correlations showed significance in all measured relationships: Self-Concept of Academic Ability for the total group (grades 9, 10, 11, 12) and for individual grades 9, 10, 11, 12 as well as for their subgroups of males and females in relationship to Perceived Evaluations of Significant Others (the total group including parents, friends, and teachers as well as the subgroups of parents, friends, and teachers).

At probability levels less than .001, analysis of variance showed significant differences in all Perceived Evaluations of Significant Others (the total group including parents, friends, and teachers as well as the subgroups of parents, friends, and teachers), based on Self-Concept of Academic Ability. These findings indicate that self-concept of academic ability and perceived evaluations of significant others are different perceptions although the correlations between them are high.

Males were found to have a significantly higher difference than females in Perceived Evaluations of Significant Others as a total group (p = .001), as the subgroup of friends (p = .001), and as the subgroup of teachers (p = .05), based on Self-Concept of Academic Ability. No significant differences were found between males and females in perceived evaluation of parents. No significant differences were found based on grade levels 9, 10, 11, 12 in any of the perceived evaluations of significant others.

Findings of this research are generalized only to the population of the specified high school from which the research sample was selected and to the analysis of data gathered by the Self-Concept of Academic Ability and Perceived Evaluations of Significant Others questionnaire.

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Keywords
Social sciences, School achievement, Symbolic interaction theories, Learning environments
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