A study was done of the association between the psychological sense of school membership (PSSM) and measures of motivation and achievement among urban adolescents. The study was conducted among 301 students in 2 multi-ethnic urban junior high schools. African American, White, and Hispanic American students each comprised roughly one-third of the study participants. Data were collected through questionnaires that measured PSSM, friends' values, motivation in an expectancy-value approach, general school motivation, and effort/persistence ratings. The section measuring PSSM was an 18-item scale developed specifically for use with early and mid-adolescent students covering perceived liking, personal acceptance, and inclusion; respect for and encouragement of participation; and the perceived responses of other students. Two significant results are highlighted. The first finding is that even when controlling for the impact of the immediate peer group's values, a student's subjective sense of belonging appears to have a significant impact on several measures of motivation and on engaged and persistent effort in difficult academic work. The second finding is that both ethnic and gender differences may exist in the effects of social context influences on motivation. Included are 3 tables and 40 references. (JB)
Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (San Francisco, CA, April 20-24, 1992).
Sense of Community; Student Engagement
1 - Available on microfiche
Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, Ann Arbor, MI.