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The Longitudinal Research on the Relations of Adolescent’s Future Orientation with Academic and Emotional Adjustments

Author: WangZuoQiong
Tutor: ZhangWenXin
School: Shandong Normal University
Course: Developmental and Educational Psychology
Keywords: future orientation adolescent academic adjustment emotional adjustment longitudinal research person-centered analysis
CLC: B844.2
Type: PhD thesis
Year: 2011
Downloads: 489
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Abstract


Future orientation is an important aspect of self-development, a psychological structure pointing to the future, which plays a guiding role in of the current cognitive activity of individuals, and makes the current cognitive activity of individuals point and service the future goals (Nurmi, 1991). The positive development of adolescent future orientation is not only beneficial to deal with current stressful events and risk behaviors, not only has an important influence on their future development (McCabe & Barnett, 2000; Schoon & Parsons, 2002; Vansteenkiste, Simons, Lens, Soenens, & Matos, 2005). Future orientation is a multi-stage and multi-dimension psychological process which consisting of setting goals, planning their actualization and evaluating their realizability (Nurmi, 1991).Recently, influenced by the notions of developmental contextualism, researchers focus increasingly on issues about the dynamical interactions among multiple variables, and about change and individual difference in personal development. In the last three decades, adolescents’future orientation has received a great deal of attention among developmental psychologists. However, an overwhelming majority of the research in this area tested the developmental characteristics of motivation process of future orientation, and was a lack of attention to planning and evaluation processes of future orientation. There were few of researches testing the integrated model among future orientation, academic and emotional adjustments, especially, without enough results from longitudinal perspective. In present thesis, firstly, a brief introduction was made on the conception and function of future orientation, especially its importance on adolescent’s current adjustment and later positive development. Then a comprehensive review was conducted with regard to the theoretical claims and the important empirical findings. A further analysis was executed focusing on the limitations of previous researches. On the basis of these analyses, three studies were designed to explore the developmental characteristics of adolescent’s future orientation, and the integrated multi-dimensional interactions among future orientation, academic and emotional adjustments using the variable-centered and person-centered analyses in the longitudinal data.Study 1 was conducted to focus on developmental characteristics of adolescent’s future orientation, and included two sub-studies. Study 1-a used the variable-centered method including marginal homogeneity test and repeated ANOVA to analyze the developmental characteristics of adolescent’s future orientation, and Study 1-b used the person-centered method (Latent Transition Analysis) to explore the sub-classes of future orientation in adolescent group. 1103 Chinese adolescents from five junior high schools and four senior high schools in Jinan City and Yantai area, Shandong Province, were employed to complete the questionnaires. The Chinese version of Future Orientation Questionnaire was administered by self-reported manner. The indicators of future orientation included two parts, and the first part tested the adolescents’hopes and fears for future, and the second parts tested the planning (exploration and commitment) and evaluating (internal and external attributions, feeling, positive expectation and personal value) to future education, occupation and family domains. The main findings were as follows:(1) With the growth of adolescents’age, boys reported less hopes for future education, occupation and interpersonal relationship, and girls reported more hopes for future education and fears for future family; adolescents in junior middle school reported less hopes and fears for academic adjustment and future occupation and parents’health and well-being, and adolescents in high middle school reported more leisure hopes and future family fears; urban adolescents reported less hopes for future education and fears for academic adjustment and parents’health and well-being.(2) With the growth of adolescents’age, adolescents’reported shorter temporal extensions for realizing hopes and fears for future education, occupation and family, but reported longer temporal extension for realizing leisure hope.(3) With the growth of adolescents’age, urban girls decreased their positive feeling for future education, and rural girls decreased their personal value for future occupation; boys reported higher internal attribution for future family; adolescents in high middle school reported more exploration for future education, and higher external attributions for future education, occupation and family; rural adolescents reported more commitment and internal attribution for future education, and urban adolescents reported higher external attribution for future occupation and family. (4) There were different classes of future orientation in adolescent group for education, occupation and family domains. Some adolescents were classified into a subclass of future orientation stably in two time points, but some adolescents were classified into different subclasses of future orientation in two time points.Study 2 was to investigate the multi-dimensional interactions among adolescents’future orientation, academic and emotional adjustments. The sample of subjects was same with Study 1. Seven self-reported questionnaires were administered, including the Chinese version of Future Orientation Questionnaire, Academic Value Scale, Self-perceived Academic Performance, School Record Performance, Education Instrumentality Scale, Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale, State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. The indicators of academic and emotional adjustment factors included academic value (AV), self-perceived and school record performances (SPP, SRP), depression, state anxiety (S-anxiety) and trait anxiety (T-anxiety). Three sub-studies were designed in Study 2. Study 2-a was designed to explore the cross-lagged interactional relationships between future orientation and academic value, self-perceived performance and school record performance, separately. Study 2-b was designed to test the cross-lagged interactional relationships between future orientation and depression, state anxiety and trait anxiety, separately. Statistical methods in Study 2-a and 2-b included ANOVA, MLR (multinomial logistic regression), and HLR (hierarchical linear regression). Finally, Study 2-c was designed to construct the integrated models among future orientation, academic and emotional adjustment variables. SEM (structured equation model) was used in the third part of Study 2. The main findings were as follows:(1) The cross-lagged analyses showed significant positive interactions between hope and fear numbers for future education and AV, SPP, SRP, separately. Adolescents who reported hope and fear for future occupation showed higher SPP than those without hope and fear for future occupation, but adolescents who reported more fears for future occupation had lower SRP than those who reported less fears. Adolescents who reported future family hope had lower AV, but had higher SRP. Adolescents who had higher AV, SPP and SRP reported longer temporal extensions for realizing hopes and fears for future education, occupation and family domain.(2) Adolescents who reported more hopes for future education had lower level of depression, S-anxiety and T-anxiety. The number of fear for future education and occupation and anxiety could mutually positively predict each other. The temporal extension of realizing hope for future education and depression, anxiety could mutually negatively predict each other.(3) Commitment for future education and AV could promote each other, and positive expectation for future education and SPP could promote each other. Commitment for future education could enhance SPP. SPP and AV could promote personal value and positive expectation for future education. SRP could enhance AV and commitment, personal value, positive expectation and feeling for future education. Higher level of internal attribution for future education predicted increasing AV, SPP and SRP.(4) Commitment, internal attribution and positive expectation for future occupation could indirectly enhance SPP and SRP through perceived educational instrumentality. SPP could indirectly enhance internal attribution and personal value for future occupation through perceived educational instrumentality, and directly promote positive expectation and feeling for future occupation.(5) In relatively short period of time, depression and S-anxiety negatively predicted AV and SPP, but S-anxiety could enhance SRP; commitment for future education and occupation and depression had negative interactions; positive feeling for future education and occupation and depression, as well as T-anxiety could mutually negatively predicted each other; internal attribution for future education and occupation could negatively predicted depression, but external attribution for future education and occupation and depression, as well anxiety could mutually promote each other.Study 3 was to explore the relations between adolescents’subclasses of future orientation and their academic and emotional adjustments based on the results of Study 1-b. The sample of subjects was same with Study 1. Statistical methods in the Study 3 included ANOVA, MANOVA, and MLR. Measures including the Chinese version of Future Orientation Questionnaire, Self-perceived Academic Performance, School Record Performance, Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale, State-Trait Anxiety Inventory used in Study 3 were the same with Study 1. The main findings were as follows:(1) Adolescents were classified into planning-evaluating sub-classes and transitional types between these sub-classes for future education and occupation had mutually positive predictions with adolescents’SPP and SRP.(2) Adolescents were classified into planning-evaluating sub-classes and transitional types between these sub-classes for future education and occupation had mutually negative predictions with adolescents’depression and anxiety.(3) Adolescents who were classified into transitional type from more higher planning-evaluating subclass to moderately higher planning-evaluating subclass had higher score of depression than that of those who were classified into transitional types from more higher planning-evaluating subclass to the highest planning-evaluating subclass and from more lower planning-evaluating subclass to the highest planning-evaluating subclass.The general conclusions were as follows: 1. adolescents’future orientation showed characteristics of change with age growth; 2. adolescents could to be classified to different sub-classes of future orientation; 3. there were multi-dimensional dynamic interactions among adolescents’future orientation and academic and emotional adjustments; 4. adolescents who were classified into different sub-classes of future orientation varied between different levels of academic and emotional adjustments.This dissertation project was the first longitudinal design to explore the developmental characteristics of adolescent’s future orientation, and the integrated multi-dimensional interactions among future orientation, academic and emotional adjustments among contemporary Chinese adolescents. The findings and conclusions that drew on the dissertation project played an important role on the constructing dynamic developmental models of Adolescent’s future orientation and guiding the positive development of adolescents.

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