The transition to high school as a developmental process among multiethnic urban youth

Child Dev. 2009 Mar-Apr;80(2):356-76. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2009.01265.x.


The high school transition was examined in an ethnically diverse, urban sample of 1,979 adolescents, followed from 7th to 10th grade (M(age) = 14.6, SD = .37 in 7th grade). Twice annually, data were gathered on adolescents' perceptions of school climate, psychological functioning, and academic behaviors. Piecewise growth modeling results indicate that adolescents were doing well before the transition but experienced transition disruptions in psychological functioning and grades, and many continued to struggle across high school. The immediate experience of the transition appeared to be particularly challenging for African American and Latino students when the numerical representation of their ethnic groups declined significantly from middle to high school. Findings highlight the value of examining the transition in a larger developmental context and the importance of implementing transition support.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Black or African American / psychology*
  • Black or African American / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Hispanic or Latino / psychology*
  • Hispanic or Latino / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Life Change Events
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Schools
  • Self Concept
  • Social Adjustment*
  • Social Environment
  • Students / psychology*
  • Students / statistics & numerical data
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Texas
  • Urban Population