M.A.G. van Aken
B. Orobio de Castro
- Dashed hopes, dashed selves? A sociometer perspective on self-esteem change across the transition to secondary school
- Social Development
- Volume | Issue number
- 23 | 4
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Research Institute of Child Development and Education (RICDE)
The transition from primary to secondary school challenges children's psychological well-being. A cross-transitional longitudinal study (N = 306; mean age = 12.2 years) examined why some children's self-esteem decreases across the transition whereas other children's self-esteem does not. Children's expected social acceptance in secondary school was measured before the transition; their actually perceived social acceptance was measured after the transition. Self-esteem and Big Five personality traits were measured both pre- and posttransition. Self-esteem changed as a function of the discrepancy between children's expected and actually perceived social acceptance. Furthermore, neuroticism magnified self-esteem decreases when children's ‘hopes were dashed'—when they experienced disappointing levels of social acceptance. These findings provide longitudinal support for sociometer theory across the critical transition to secondary school.
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