A1 Journal article (refereed)
School grades as predictors of self-esteem and changes in internalizing problems : A longitudinal study from fourth through seventh grade (2020)

Metsäpelto, R.-L., Zimmermann, F., Pakarinen, E., Poikkeus, A.-M., & Lerkkanen, M.-K. (2020). School grades as predictors of self-esteem and changes in internalizing problems : A longitudinal study from fourth through seventh grade. Learning and Individual Differences, 77, Article 101807. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lindif.2019.101807

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Metsäpelto, Riitta-Leena; Zimmermann, Friederike; Pakarinen, Eija; Poikkeus, Anna-Maija; Lerkkanen, Marja-Kristiina

Journal or series: Learning and Individual Differences

ISSN: 1041-6080

eISSN: 1873-3425

Publication year: 2020

Volume: 77

Article number: 101807

Publisher: Elsevier Ltd

Publication country: United Kingdom

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lindif.2019.101807

Publication open access: Not open

Publication channel open access:

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/68032


This longitudinal study of 562 students (from ages 10 to 13) investigated whether developmental changes in internalizing problems (emotional and peer problems) can be predicted by school grades in mathematics and language arts and whether these predictive relations are mediated by students' self-esteem. The data comprised of teacher-rated internalizing problems, grades in math and language arts, and student self-ratings of self-esteem. The latent change score modeling indicated that math grades positively predicted self-esteem. Furthermore, lower self-esteem was related to an increase in internalizing and emotional problems in the total sample, and to an increase in peer problems in boys. The indirect effect of poorer math grades, via lower self-esteem, on increases in internalizing and emotional problems was significant. The sample included an overrepresentation of children at risk of reading difficulty, but the tested models did not differ between at-risk and not-at-risk children. Overall, the findings revealed that low math grades contribute negatively to students' global self-esteem and predict an increase in internalizing problems in early adolescence.

Keywords: pupils; mathematics; grades (education); self-esteem; emotional life; emotional development; peer relationships; problems; longitudinal research

Free keywords: school grades; internalizing problems; self-esteem; latent change score modeling

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Related projects

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2020

JUFO rating: 2

Last updated on 2021-18-11 at 08:01