A1 Journal article (refereed)
Off on the wrong foot : Task avoidance at the outset of primary school anticipates academic difficulties and declining peer acceptance (2022)

Laursen, B., Richmond, A., Kiuru, N., Lerkkanen, M.-K., & Poikkeus, A.-M. (2022). Off on the wrong foot : Task avoidance at the outset of primary school anticipates academic difficulties and declining peer acceptance. European Journal of Developmental Psychology, 19(4), 601-615. https://doi.org/10.1080/17405629.2021.1936491

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Laursen, Brett; Richmond, Ashley; Kiuru, Noona; Lerkkanen, Marja-Kristiina; Poikkeus, Anna-Maija

Journal or series: European Journal of Developmental Psychology

ISSN: 1740-5629

eISSN: 1740-5610

Publication year: 2022

Publication date: 17/06/2021

Volume: 19

Issue number: 4

Pages range: 601-615

Publisher: Taylor & Francis

Publication country: United Kingdom

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/17405629.2021.1936491

Publication open access: Not open

Publication channel open access:

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/85894


The present study examined the academic antecedents of declining peer social status. Participants included 545 (311 boys, 234 girls) Finnish students followed from the 1st through the 4th grade (ages 6–8 at outset). Each year, teachers completed assessments of academic task avoidance and students completed standardized measures of reading and math achievement. Acceptance was assayed through peer nominations. Supporting the hypothesized model, the results indicated that a lack of interest and motivation at the outset of primary school leads to a downward spiral of academic difficulties and diminished peer acceptance. Specifically, academic task avoidance in 1st and 2nd grade anticipated declining math and reading achievement one year later, which in turn, anticipated decreases in peer acceptance the following year. The findings held after controlling for factors known to contribute to school and peer difficulties, such as friendlessness, school readiness, and emotional and behavioural problems.

Keywords: lower comprehensive school pupils; school beginners; readiness for school; study motivation; literacy; mathematical skills; study performance; problem behaviour; behaviour disorders; peer relationships; becoming friends

Free keywords: primary school children; task avoidance; academic achievement; peer acceptance

Contributing organizations

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2022

Preliminary JUFO rating: 1

Last updated on 2023-08-03 at 10:07