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Bolstering trust and reducing discipline incidents at a diverse middle school: How self-affirmation affects behavioral conduct during the transition to adolescence

Binning, KR and Cook, JE and Purdie-Greenaway, V and Garcia, J and Chen, S and Apfel, N and Sherman, DK and Cohen, GL (2019) Bolstering trust and reducing discipline incidents at a diverse middle school: How self-affirmation affects behavioral conduct during the transition to adolescence. Journal of School Psychology. ISSN 0022-4405

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Abstract

© 2019 Society for the Study of School Psychology A three-year field experiment at an ethnically diverse middle school (N = 163) tested the hypothesis that periodic self-affirmation exercises delivered by classroom teachers bolsters students' school trust and improves their behavioral conduct. Students were randomly assigned to either a self-affirmation condition, where they wrote a series of in-class essays about personally important values, or a control condition, where they wrote essays about personally unimportant values. There were no behavioral effects of affirmation at the end of 6th grade, after students had completed four writing exercises. However, after four additional exercises in 7th grade, affirmed students had a significantly lower rate of discipline incidents than students in the control condition. The effect continued to grow and did not differ across ethnic groups, such that during 8th grade students in the affirmation condition on average received discipline at a 69% lower rate than students in the control condition. Analyses of student climate surveys revealed that affirmation was associated with higher school trust over time, a tendency that held across ethnic groups and partially mediated the affirmation effect on discipline. Repeated self-affirmation can bolster students' school trust and reduce the incidence of discipline in middle school, findings with both theoretical and practical implications.


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Details

Item Type: Article
Status: Published
Creators/Authors:
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Binning, KRkbinning@pitt.eduKBINNING0000-0002-5396-4183
Cook, JE
Purdie-Greenaway, V
Garcia, J
Chen, S
Apfel, N
Sherman, DK
Cohen, GL
Date: 1 January 2019
Date Type: Publication
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of School Psychology
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1016/j.jsp.2019.07.007
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Psychology
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 0022-4405
Date Deposited: 18 Jul 2019 19:55
Last Modified: 20 Aug 2019 21:55
URI: http://d-scholarship.pitt.edu/id/eprint/37114

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