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Association of peer relations to adjustment among Chinese adolescent newcomers : a risk and resiliency perspective Teja, Zuhra

Abstract

From a risk and resiliency perspective, the current study examined the protective role of peer relations with respect to psychological and school adjustment among 122 Chinese adolescent newcomers (ages 11 to 19). Newcomers were defined as early and middle/late adolescents from China who have resided in Canada for 5 years or less. Data were collected via self-reports of their peer relations (i.e., characteristics of friendship networks, peer group integration, quality of best friendships) and psychological adjustment (i.e., psychosomatic symptoms, anxiety, and depression), and teacher reports of their school adjustment (i.e., competent behaviors, problem behaviors). Results revealed that the large majority of Chinese adolescent newcomers reported having friends who were of the same gender, from the same country, and of similar age. As well, gender and age differences emerged with regard to peer relational and adjustment variables. Results of hierarchical regression analyses revealed that dimensions of peer relations explained significant amounts of variance in psychological and school adjustment outcomes. Peer group integration was a consistent significant predictor of psychological and school adjustment. As well, friendship quality was a significant predictor of peer group integration. Results of this study provide cross-cultural support for the role of peer relations as a compensatory (protective) variable that predicts positive adjustment among Chinese adolescent newcomers.

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