First Advisor

Thomas A. Kindermann

Term of Graduation

Winter 2020

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Psychology






Student adjustment, Adjustment (Psychology) in children, Social networks, Motivation in education, Achievement motivation in children, Resilience (Personality trait) in children



Physical Description

1 online resource (v, 133 pages)


Beginning middle school is a difficult transition for many young adolescents. Academic coping skills and the ability to exhibit motivational resilience in the face of potential academic adversity can contribute to the success with which students navigate this transition. Students' peer group affiliations are known to have the ability to contribute positively to students' academic engagement, motivation, and achievement at this time. The current study explores the potential of a student's peer group members' use of eleven ways of academic coping to affect the change in student academic engagement over the course of the first year of middle school. Data from the entire cohort of 366 sixth grade students in the only middle school in a small northeastern town were used to investigate several hypotheses. Models were tested using structural equation modeling. Peer group average levels of overall coping profile, combined total adaptive coping, and combined total maladaptive coping did not significantly predict engagement change over the first year of middle school. Peer group average levels of self-encouragement were found to negatively predict engagement change over the first year of middle school, and peer group average levels of rumination were found to positively predict engagement change over the year. These effects were in the opposite direction of what was expected. Possible explanations for the findings are discussed. Strengths and limitations, future research directions, and implications are described.


In Copyright. URI: This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).

Persistent Identifier