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Dissertation

Self-Esteem and Academic Self-Perception in a Rural Adolescent High School

1 January 2017

Abstract

Research indicates that rural students are at risk for low motivation and lack of school success (Hardré, Sullivan, & Crowson, 2009). Additionally, rates of absenteeism have been found to be higher in rural schools, which can negatively impact students’ behavioral, social, and academic outcomes (National Center for Education Statistics [NCES], 2013). The present study builds upon prior work (Green et al., 2012; Hardré et al., 2009; Kearney, 2008; Stave, 2016) and examined the connection between academic self-perception and self-esteem in a rural adolescent population in order to determine if relationships existed amongst these variables and in conjunction with school attendance. The Rosenberg Self-Esteem scale (Rosenberg, 1965), the Academic-Self Perception scale (McCoach, 2002), questions regarding family encouragement to do well in school, and a demographics questionnaire were administered to 132 high school students in a rural school in the Pacific Northwest. Attendance data were obtained from the school during the winter months of the academic year. Results indicated a significant and positive relationship between self-esteem and academic self-perception. Regarding attendance, a significant inverse relationship was found between chronic absenteeism and academic self-perception. The findings from this study contribute to literature emphasizing the value of familial encouragement to do well in school for supporting self-esteem and academic self-perception, along with demonstrating the positive relationship between parents’ level of education and youths’ academic self-perception. Overall, the results highlight the importance of fostering and encouraging self-esteem, academic self-perception, and familial encouragement in rural high schools in order to improve academic success and promote adolescent well-being.


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