UBC Theses and Dissertations
Peer adjustment of adolescents at risk for school dropout Comfort, Colin B.
Research on the factors influencing school dropout has traditionally focused on individual characteristics of dropouts and, more recently, school factors, frequently neglecting the role of peer relations. The intent of the present study was to determine to what extent and in what ways peer adjustment is related to school dropout risk. On the basis of previous research, five aspects of peer adjustment were delineated as potentially affecting students' decision to drop out: overall social status; social behavior (aggression, withdrawal); social support; social participation; and friends' school value. Dropout risk was assessed using both Grade Point Average and teacher nominations of dropout risk. Students (N = 153) from grades 9 through 11 participated in the study. Results of univariate (correlations, extreme groups ANOVA) and multivariate (multiple regression) indicated that of all the peer adjustment measures included in the study, dropout risk was best predicted by aggression. Univariate (although not multivariate) analyses also revealed a relationship between dropout risk and lower value for school held by friends. Limited support was found for the notion that students at risk for school dropout evidence less participation in the social aspects of school. Results showed little evidence of relationship between risk for school dropout and rejection by same- or opposite-sex peers, peer-perceived withdrawal, or a lack of peer group intimacy or integration.
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