ADOLESCENT PSYCHOSOCIAL FUNCTIONING AND SCHOOL SUPPORTIVENESS IN MALAYSIA

Open Access
Author:
Gomez, Brendan Jeremy
Graduate Program:
Human Development and Family Studies
Degree:
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Dissertation
Date of Defense:
June 24, 2005
Committee Members:
  • Edward A Smith, Committee Chair
  • Eric Loken, Committee Member
  • Linda L Caldwell, Committee Member
  • Scott David Gest, Committee Member
  • Mark T Greenberg, Committee Member
Keywords:
  • adolescence
  • psychosocial well-being
  • school support
  • pro-social competence
  • depression
  • delinquency
  • Malaysia
Abstract:
This dissertation focuses on conceptualizing psychosocial functioning in Malaysian adolescents, and understanding school factors related to these outcomes, so as to eventually assist school staff in developing techniques and programs in promoting positive youth development. There are four chapters in this dissertation. In Chapter 1, exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses show support for a 3-factor structure that map on to a theoretical framework of psychosocial well being. Findings further support expected factorial invariance across gender for urban middle income adolescents in Malaysia. In Chapter 2, findings show that the majority of adolescents, as expected, experience high psychosocial well-being and low psychosocial maladjustment, and a small number experience low well-being and high psychosocial maladjustment. However, there exist a significant number of adolescents who do experience high well-being and high maladjustment, and low well-being and low maladjustment (both for depression and for delinquency). Their mean reported values differ from the more “common” low-high and high-low groups on school support variables, educational outcomes, and economic sufficiency. Results present support for well-being and maladjustment as distinct dimensions of adolescent psychosocial functioning. In Chapter 3, controlling for economic sufficiency, grade-level, and gender, all of which are significantly associated with outcomes of interest, findings support the hypotheses that school support variables have a positive main effect on adolescent positive sense of self and personal control, prosocial orientation, and avoidance and resistance skills. Findings suggest that teacher support, school peer support, competency building support in the classroom, and school environment support are key qualities in Malaysian schools that are associated with important markers of adolescent psychosocial well-being. In Chapter 4, hierarchical linear regressions where economic sufficiency, school, grade-level, and gender are controlled for, show that indices of school supports are significantly associated with outcomes of interest. Most indices of school supports have a significant negative association with depression and a significant positive association with commitment to learning and school. However, only the broader school environment support has a significant association with delinquency.