Parental Attachment, Coping Style, and Trait Emotional Self-Efficacy as Antecedents of School Attachment

Lizamarie C. Olegario


School attachment has been defined as a sense of belonging or connectedness at school, a network of relationships with peers as well as other school personnel and a sense of inherent value for the learning process as it relates to students' lives (Mouton, Hawkins, McPherson, and Copley, 1996; Ornelles, 2007). It is the extent to which students feel accepted, valued, respected and included in the school (Shochet, Smyth, & Homel, 2007). The School Attachment Scale by Hill (in press) measures three subscales –attachment to school, attachment to peers, and attachment to teachers. The attachment to school subscale pertains to commitment to conventionalacademic activities and belief in the established norms for school behavior (Hawkins and Weis, 1985 as cited in McNeely, 2003).
School attachment has been associated with positive social, emotional, and academic adjustment, achievement and motivation (Hill & Werner, 2006; Hill, 2008; Jimerson, 2003). Recently, it has been discovered as an important predictor of adolescent mental health and of disciplinary referrals, victimization, and symptoms of oppositional disorder (DeWit, et al., 2002; Shochet, Homel, & Montgomery, in press). Low level of school attachment may lead to school alienation demonstrated by students’ withdrawal from school activities, cheating, delinquency, discipline problems, low school motivation and achievement, negative attitudes towards school, poor attendance, poor social and emotional adjustment to school, school dropout, risky sexual behavior, and substance abuse (DeWit, et al., 2002; Hill, 2008; O’Farrel, & Morrison, 2003; Ornelles, 2007).
Since school attachment plays a very important role in the success or failure of middle and high schools students (Mouton, Hawkins, McPherson, & Copley, 1996), it is essential to identify the predictors of school attachment. Reinforcement of positive involvement in the classroom through teacher warmth and support, increased opportunity to participate in extracurricular activities and greater community support of schools have been found to result in increased level of school attachment (Gottfredson, 1988 as cited in Hill & Werner, 2006). What have not been explored were parental attachment and individual-level contributions to differing levels of school attachment within the same or similar school environments (Hill & Werner, 2006; Shochet, Homel, & Montgomery, in press).

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