Teacher support is key to self-esteem for Chinese and US youth

Sep 15, 2009

As children go back to school this fall, a new cross-cultural study finds that for both Chinese and American middle schoolers, students who feel supported by their teachers tend to have higher self-esteem, and those who don't feel supported by fellow students are more likely to be depressed.

The study, which explores commonalities between Chinese and U.S. students as well as the ways in which they differ, appears in the September/October 2009 issue of . It was conducted by researchers at Southeast University (in Nanjing, China), New York University, the Educational Testing Service, Harvard University, the University of Western Ontario, and Nanjing Brain Hospital.

The researchers looked at almost 1,500 urban middle school students in China and the United States. They considered students' perceptions of three aspects of school climate: teacher support, student support, and opportunities for autonomy in the classroom. And they looked at the ties between these three aspects and students' self-esteem, symptoms of , and grades.

The study found that students in China got more support from teachers and other students and more opportunities for autonomy than students in the United States. For both Chinese and American middle schoolers, students who felt supported by their teachers were more likely to have higher self-esteem, while students who didn't feel supported by their fellow were more likely to be depressed. And although youths had more opportunities for autonomy in the classroom in China, increased opportunity for autonomy translated into lower grade point averages for children in both countries.

"Our results underscore the importance of examining the cultural context in studies of adolescent adjustment," according to Yueming Jia, a research scientist of psychology at Southeast University, who led the study. "Practical implications that can be drawn from the study include paying more attention to the ways in which the context influences children's adjustment, as well as emphasizing the impact of social and emotional support from teachers and peers on adolescents' academic and emotional adjustment."

More information: Child Development, Vol. 80, Issue 5, The Influence of Student Perceptions of Climate on Socio-Emotional and Academic Adjustment: A Comparison of Chinese and U.S. Adolescents by Jia, Y (Southeast University), Way, N (New York University), Ling, G (Educational Testing Service), Yoshikawa, H (Harvard University), Chen, X (University of Western Ontario), Hughes, D (New York University), Ke, X (Nanjing Brain Hospital), and Lu, Z (Southeast University).

Source: Society for Research in Child Development (news : web)

Explore further: When identity marketing backfires: Consumers don't like to be told what they like

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Peers versus parents in modern China

Aug 14, 2008

In metropolitan China, high school students' self-esteem depends more on good relations with peers than parents, a new UC Davis study shows. But the opposite is true for younger adolescents and young adults: Both base their ...

Zero tolerance policies can work against cohesion in schools

Feb 11, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Students who feel connected to their peers and teachers are more inclined to alert a teacher or principal if they hear a fellow student "wants to do something dangerous," according to a new study published ...

Relationships Improve Student Success

Jun 29, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- When students are underachieving, school policymakers often examine class size, curriculum and funding, but University of Missouri researchers suggest establishing relationships may be a powerful ...

Recommended for you

Online reviews: When do negative opinions boost sales?

14 hours ago

When purchasing items online, reading customer reviews is a convenient way to get a real-world account of other people's opinions of the product. According to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research, negative review ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Online reviews: When do negative opinions boost sales?

When purchasing items online, reading customer reviews is a convenient way to get a real-world account of other people's opinions of the product. According to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research, negative review ...

Patent talk: Google sharpens contact lens vision

(Phys.org) —A report from Patent Bolt brings us one step closer to what Google may have in mind in developing smart contact lenses. According to the discussion Google is interested in the concept of contact ...

Wireless industry makes anti-theft commitment

A trade group for wireless providers said Tuesday that the biggest mobile device manufacturers and carriers will soon put anti-theft tools on the gadgets to try to deter rampant smartphone theft.