Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Relationships among Teacher Support, Peer Conflict Resolution, and School Emotional Experiences in Adolescents from Shanghai

Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Relationships among Teacher Support, Peer Conflict Resolution, and School Emotional Experiences in Adolescents from Shanghai

Article excerpt

We investigated the relationships among teacher support, peer conflict resolution, and emotional experiences at school in 2,782 students from 12 secondary schools in Shanghai, China. The results demonstrated that: a) most of the students had positive perceptions of teacher support, effective peer conflict resolution, happiness, and communication satisfaction in school context; b) males used more negative peer conflict resolution strategies than did females; c) in all school experiences, significant differences were found between students in different grade levels; and d) teacher support was found to have a positive influence on student happiness, satisfaction, and peer conflict resolution, and effective peer conflict resolution also had a positive influence on student happiness and satisfaction, but negative emotion was found to reduce happiness and satisfaction.

Keywords: teacher support, peer conflict resolution, school emotional experiences, secondary school students

The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) was developed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). PISA surveys are undertaken every three years in countries around the world, to assess reading, mathematics, and science achievement among national samples of 15-year-olds, and to gather information from the principals of the schools that students attend (OECD, 2010, 2013a, 2013b). In the 2009 PISA tests (OECD, 2010, 2013a), 15-year-old secondary school students in Shanghai achieved the best results by far since the year 2000, scoring 556 in reading, 600 in mathematics, and 575 in science. Although the cognitive development of teenagers in Shanghai is thus exceptional in international studies, the level of their emotional and behavioral development remains unclear. Happiness is a mental or emotional state of well-being characterized by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy, and is a principal goal of the human experience (Diener, 2000; Parks, Della Porta, Pierce, Zilca, & Lyubomirsky, 2012). Happiness reportedly contributes to physical and psychological health and has been shown to coexist with success (Lyubomirsky, King, & Diener, 2005; Stiglbauer, Gnambs, Gamsjäger, & Batinic, 2013). Happiness can increase an individual's perceptions of their strengths and virtues, creating, in turn, more success and happiness for himself/herself (Fredrickson, 2001).

Previous researchers (e.g., Cauce & Srebnik, 1990; Chu, Saucier, & Hafner, 2010) have reported three main factors in the happiness of children and adolescents: family, school, and peers. Family support, teachers, and school support, as well as student-student support construct the social climate that satisfies the human need for relatedness. Support for this interpretation is derived from self-determination theory, in which it is stated that individuals have three fundamental developmental needs - relatedness, competence, and autonomy - and that the satisfaction of these needs is essential for an individual's psychological growth and well-being (Deci & Ryan, 1985, 2000; Reeve, 2004; Ryan & Deci, 2000). Typically, individuals seek to satisfy these needs through interaction with their environment. Thus, if students feel meaningfully connected to, and accepted by, teachers and classmates - that is, if they have supportive relationships with others at school - their need for relatedness will be satisfied.

Similarly, in the school setting both teacher-student and student-student relationships create the school interpersonal climate. Students' perceptions of the school environment and its impact on their psychosocial and academic adjustment have received increasing attention in recent years (Jia et al., 2009). Teacher-student and peer or student-student relationships have been widely researched (Allen, Porter, McFarland, McElhaney, & Marsh, 2007; Baker, Grant, & Morlock, 2008; Bru, Murberg, & Stephens, 2001; Murdock & Bolch, 2005) as an important factor in conflict among students, which is a frequent occurrence in schools (Johnson & Johnson, 1996). …

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