Significant others' contribution to early adolescents' perceptions of their competence

Lynette M Y Trent, George Cooney, Graeme Russell, Pamela M. Warton

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    12 Citations (Scopus)


    This study measures perceptions of competence in the scholastic and athletic domains and also examines genderdifferences in these areas. It explores the relative contributions of significant others (namely, parents, teachers, classmates and close friends) for an Australian cohort of early adolescents. A total of 264 children (average age, 11.7 years; 40% female) in Grade 6, their parents and their classroom teachers were surveyed using six modified Harter scales. Analyses supported the notion that the sources related to early adolescents' perceptions were different and that the relative predictive utility of the five sources varied as a function of gender and the domain type. Scholastic competence for males is related to external (father and teacher) perceptions as well as internal (child's) perceptions whereas for females, scholastic competence is related entirely to internal (child's) perceptions. In contrast, athletic competence for males is related only to external (teacher) perceptions, whereas for females athletic competence is related to external (mother) perceptions as well as internal (child's) perceptions. The findings are discussed in terms of their theoretical and practical implications in educational practice.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)95-107
    Number of pages13
    JournalBritish Journal of Educational Psychology
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 1996


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