Whe Does Academic Achievement Fit In? - NYU Steinhardt

Report
DEPRESSION AND VICTIMIZATION
AMONG GIRLS:
WHERE DOES ACADEMIC
ACHIEVEMENT FIT IN?
Katie Sylvester
New York University
 Dr. Elise Cappella for your dedication to my
project and access to this data set.
 Research Grants: Spencer Foundation, Woodrow
Wilson Foundation, Johnson & Johnson Corp.
 All research assistants who collected the data.
 Research participants: Schools, teachers, and
students.
 As girls transition to adolescence, they
experience an increase in depressive symptoms.
 During adolescence twice as many girls as boys
suffer from depressive disorders.
 Peer relationships become increasingly important
and complex.
 Early interventions targeting girls might reduce
symptoms and diagnoses of depression in
adolescence.
 Broad range of aggressive behaviors
and peer conflicts (e.g., malicious
rumor spreading, threats).
 Girls become increasingly engaged in
subtle and indirect peer conflicts that
involve intentional harm through the
manipulation of social relationships.
 Creates instability and conflict within
one’s immediate peer context.
 Depressive symptoms are closely linked to experiences
of aggression victimization.
 Depressed children exhibit behaviors that signal to
others that they will not be successful at defending
themselves if attacked .
 Girls who are victimized are likely to internalize their
problems and experience emotional distress.
 As a result, there seems to be a bidirectional relation
between victimization and depression.
Depressive
Symptoms
Aggression
Victimization
 Achievement differences favoring girls emerge by the
end of elementary school.
 Academic achievement is intertwined with internalizing
problems and social relationships.
 Children who experience psychosocial difficulties often
experience concurrent academic difficulties.
 Poor social experiences are linked to poor academic
achievement.
 Strained relationships with teachers and peers lowers
motivation and generates poor achievement.
 The presence of cognitive or academic skills might
protect children from poor mental or social experiences.
 Positive academic experiences might protect
children from negative consequences of
depression and victimization.
 Ecological Perspective
 Within micro-level context
 Developmental Cascades Model
 Developmentally salient
 Spillover effects
Academic
Achievement
Depressive
Symptoms
Social
Relationships
 What is the relation between depressive symptoms and
aggression victimization?
 What is the relation between academic achievement
and aggression victimization?
 Does academic achievement moderate the relation
between depressive symptoms and aggression
victimization?
Academic
Achievement
Academic
Depressive
Symptoms
Achievement
Aggression
Victimization
 Girls between the ages of 9-12
 13 fifth grade classrooms
 6 low-middle income schools
Latina
(N=32)
Caucasian
(N=35)
AfricanAmerican
(N=34)
Academic Group (RC)
 Increase students' reading
abilities
 Oral reading of a chapter
book and literacy
activities
 Students kept journals,
read aloud from book, and
participated in writing
assignments and
discussions
Social Group (SAPP)
 Reduce peer conflict and
increase prosocial
behaviors
 Students participated in
discussion, role playing,
modeling, and games
Measure
Description
4-item subscale of
overall
victimization
Social
Experience
Questionnaire
(SEQ)


Peer report
Children’s
Depression
Inventory
(CDI)

10-item subscale of
depressive
symptoms

Self report

3-item scale of
academic
achievement
Academic
Achievement

Teacher report
Sample Item
How often does
_________ get hit,
pushed, or beat up by
other kids?
α
(T1- T2)
.65 - .78
I am sad.
Likert scale of 1-3
(1 as once in a while,
3 as all the time)
.84 - .74
Math, reading, and
science
Likert scale of 1-5
(1 as far below average to
5 far above average)
.95 - .87
Variable
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
1. T1 Depression
--
2. T2 Depression
.60**
--
3. T1 Achievement
-.19
-.10
--
4. T2 Achievement
-.06
-.07
.24*
--
5. T1 Victimization
.27**
.22*
-.29**
-.10
--
6. T2 Victimization
.34**
-.34**
-.35*
-.20*
.85**
6.
--
 Depression and victimization were positively correlated
within and across time points.
 Follow-up regressions showed that, controlling for
intervention group assignment:
T1 depression  T2 victimization
(β = .02, p < .05)
T1 victimization did not predict
T2 depression.
 Further analyses were run splitting the groups:
For both groups: T1 depression  T2 victimization
(RC, β = .04, p < .01; SAPP, β = .07, p < .01)
SAPP group only: T1 victimization  T2 depression
(β =1.67, p < .01)
 Achievement was negatively correlated with victimization.
 Follow-up regressions showed that, controlling for intervention
group assignment:
T1 achievement  T2 victimization
(β = .22, p < .01)
T1 victimization did not predict
T2 achievement.
 Results of a Hierarchical Multiple Regression, controlling for
T2 depression,T2 achievement, and group assignment showed:
T1 achievement  T2 victimization
(β = -.17, p < .001)
For RC only:
T1 achievement  T2 victimization(β = - .17, p < .01)
T1 depression  T2 victimization (β = .04, p < .05)
 There was no moderation effect of achievement
on the relation between depression and
victimization.
 Depression positively predicted victimization across groups.
 Victimization positively predicted depression for girls in the
SAPP group only.
 Results partially support past findings of a bidirectional
relation between victimization and depression.
 Involvement in short-term social intervention might make
girls’ peer difficulties salient.
 Achievement negatively predicted victimization across
groups.
 Once achievement was introduced, depression was no
longer predictive of victimization for girls in the social
intervention group.
 For girls in the academic intervention group, achievement
and depression both uniquely predicted victimization.
 Teacher reports of achievement
 Academic performance reflects a combination of
achievement, school behavior, and teacher-student
relationships.
 May be most predictive of success in school (e.g., proxy
for grades).
 Future research: use of other achievement indices
(e.g., standardized test scores).
 CDI: Limited variability
 Two time points: Difficult to capture a dynamic and
bidirectional relationship
 Future research: Longitudinal, multi-time point study.

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