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ADOLESCENT SOCIAL SUPPORT NETWORK:

STUDENT ACADEMIC SUCCESS AS IT RELATES TO


SOURCE AND TYPE OF SUPPORT RECEIVED


by
Maryanna Fezer
April 3, 2008

A dissertation submitted to the
Faculty of the Graduate School of
the State University of New York at Buffalo
in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the
degree of
Doctor of Philosophy

Department of Counseling, School and Educational Psychology
UMI Number: 3307683
3307683
2008
UMI Microform
Copyright
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by ProQuest Information and Learning Company.
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Acknowledgements
There were many supportive individuals who assisted me throughout this process.
Their belief in me carried me through my course work and completion of my dissertation. Their
presence in my life was invaluable. I would like to extend my gratitude to those individuals.
First, I would like to thank God for giving me the ability to accomplish this degree and
for giving me my family. Heartfelt thanks to my parents, Steve and Rosaline Fezer, for instilling
in me my value of education, desire to learn, and drive to excel. With their love, support and
prayers, this arduous project was made possible. Thanks Mom and Dad. My brothers, Steve,
Andrew, Peter, thanks for keeping me grounded and reminding me not to forget about other
important things in life.
I would like to thank my advisor Dr.Tom Frantz for his patience, support, and advice.
For the past year, he gladly met with me and walked me through the process as I wrote each
paragraph, organized each chapter, and analyzed my statistics. You made this an enjoyable
process. I was very lucky to have you as my advisor.
Thank you to Dr. Jim Donnelly and Dr. Scott Meier for being on my committee. The
material you taught, in various classes throughout the years, assisted me to write this dissertation.
Your wisdom and humor were greatly appreciated.
Dr Susan Horrocks, thanks for being my student mentor, advising me on classes and
being my role model, as well as for the hours you and Mr. Horrocks spent on data entry. It
would have been a near impossible task without your assistance. Thanks to Dr. Sue Gerber for
all of the assistance with SPSS. Because of you, I learned to enjoy data analysis.
Finally, thank you to Superintendent Dr.George Batterson, Superintendent Dr. Barbara
Peters, Assistant Superintendent Mrs. Mary Beth Scullion, Assistant Superintendent Peter
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Michaelsen, Principal Mrs. Susan Frey, and to my Board of Education. By granting my
sabbatical, I was able to complete my necessary classes, collect my data, and begin my
dissertation. Thank you for valuing my education. Your encouragement and support will be
remembered and appreciated always.
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Table of Contents
Acknowledgements................................................................................................................ ii
List of Statistic Tables ...........................................................................................................vii
Abstract ..................................................................................................................................ix
Chapter 1 Introduction ........................................................................................................1
Definition of Social Support ..................................................................................................2
Models of Social Support.......................................................................................................3
Benefits of Social Support .....................................................................................................6
Social Support and Academics ..............................................................................................7
Measuring Social Support......................................................................................................8
Research Questions................................................................................................................9
Chapter II Review of the Literature....................................................................................11
Social Support A Multifaceted Construct ..........................................................................11
Purpose of Support Buffering or Main Effect.....................................................................11
Importance Verses Frequency of Social Support...................................................................16
Sources of Support .................................................................................................................17
Types of Support....................................................................................................................25
Gender and Developmental Differences................................................................................28
Adolescent Perceptions of Social Support .............................................................................30
Conclusion .............................................................................................................................31
Research Questions and Predictions ......................................................................................32
Summary Chart of Social Support Studies ............................................................................36
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Chapter III Methodology ....................................................................................................38
Introduction............................................................................................................................38
Subjects..................................................................................................................................38
Variables ................................................................................................................................39
Instrumentation ......................................................................................................................40
Child and Adolescent Social Support Scale (CASSS)...........................................................41
Demographic Survey .....................................................................................44
Data Collection Procedure.........................................................................................45
Research Questions and Data Analysis .....................................................................46
Chapter IV Results Of Data Analysis .................................................................................49
Introduction............................................................................................................................49
Preliminary Analysis..............................................................................................................49
Analysis of Hypotheses..........................................................................................................52
Summary of the Results .........................................................................................................59
Chapter V Discussion .........................................................................................................62
Introduction............................................................................................................................62
Summary and Conclusions ....................................................................................................64
Importance Versus Frequency ...............................................................................................65
Age and Gender Differences..................................................................................................66
Types of Support....................................................................................................................68
Sources of Support .................................................................................................................71
Sources and Type Together ...................................................................................................74
Importance of Support ...........................................................................................................76
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Regression Predictions...........................................................................................................77
Limitations and Future Research ...................................................................82
References..............................................................................................................................85
Appendix A Statistic Tables ...............................................................................................96
Appendix B Graph and Histograms....................................................................................111
Appendix C Demographic Survey......................................................................................115
Appendix D Child and Adolescent Social Support Scale...................................................118
Appendix E - Internal Review Board Requirements .............................................................123
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List of Statistic Tables
1 Cronbachs Alpha Coefficients - Descriptive Statistics for Test Items ..................96
2 One Way ANOVA Impact of Grade Level (Importance and Frequency Scales .96
3 Independent t Tests Impact of Gender (Importance and Frequency Scales.........97
3a Descriptive Statistics CASSS Importance Scale................................................98
3b Descriptive Statistics CASSS Frequency Scale.................................................99
4 Descriptive Statistics Ranking Sources of Support .............................................100
5 Descriptive Statistics Ranking Types of Support ................................................100
6 Correlation - Frequency Scale and Importance Scale for Support Sources............101
7 Correlation -Frequency Scale and Importance Scale for Support Types................101
8 Friedman Analyses Significant Differences within Each Source........................102
9 Friedman - Rank Order of Social Support ..............................................................102
10 Paired t Tests Significant Differences for Females Rank of Support ................103
11 Paired t Tests Significant Differences for Males Rank of Support....................103
12 Descriptive Statistics - Types and Sources of Support .........................................104
13 Correlations Type and Sources of Support with Dependent Variables .............104
13a Summary of Correlations - Support Type with Dependent Variables ................105
13bSummary of Correlations - Support Source with Dependent Variables ..............105
14 Correlations - Types of Support from Sources of Support with Dependent Variables
for Males ..............................................................................................................106
15 Correlations - Types of Support from Sources of Support with Dependent Variables
for Females...........................................................................................................107
16 Summary of Correlations- (Table 14 and 15) Types of Support from Sources of
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Support with Dependent Variables for Males and Females.................................107
17 Regression Analysis Predictions for Social Support .........................................108
17aSummary for Regression Predictions...................................................................109

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Abstract
Social support is a multifaceted construct offering a multitude of benefits. The purpose
of this study is to assess the impact of social support on high school adolescents and their success
in school. The focus was on the source of support and on the type of support given. The sources
of social support were: teachers, parents, close friends, classmates, and the school. The types of
support were: emotional, informational, instrumental, and appraisal support. These types of
support from specific sources were believed to have an impact on important indicators of
academic success including; academic average, school attendance, school satisfaction, and
behavior. In addition, preliminary analyses were conducted to assess the variables of gender and
grade level to determine if they have an impact on perceived social support.
A total of 471 high school adolescents from grades 9 to 12 from a suburban school
district participated in this study. The subjects completed the Child and Adolescent Social
Support Scale (Malecki, Demaray, & Elliott, 2000) and a demographic questionnaire. The
students self reported the frequency and importance of social support received and their
indicators of success.
The findings indicated that females perceive more support than males from all of the
sources and of all types of support given. Though they perceive more support, it appeared they
were not receiving the type of support that contributed to their school success, instrumental and
appraisal support. Though males perceived less support overall, emotional support had the
greatest contribution to their school success and was the type most frequently given. Close
friend support was perceived most frequently however, supportive behaviors from parents had
the strongest correlations with the dependent variables. Finally, though teacher informational
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support was perceived frequently, teacher emotional support contributed to student success in
school.
The conclusions of this study are intended to heighten awareness of the importance and
the impact of a social support network for the adolescent. Each source in the network has some
form of support that can be offered, impacting various aspects of the adolescents behavior and
success. Investigations of students perceptions of social support will assist educators and
parents identify crucial supportive behaviors that can be targeted for interventions.
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Chapter 1
Introduction
Educational attainment is a necessity for todays youth. It is a significant predictor of
individual outcomes and general wellbeing (Dryfoos, 1990; Rumberger, 1995). The deleterious
consequences of dropping out of school include unemployment, criminal activity, delinquency
and poverty (Rumberger, 1995). Alarmingly, it is predicted that 10% to 30 % of United States
students will not complete their high school education on time, and in urban areas, more than
50% will drop out of school (Karam, 2006). In 1983, the National Commission of Excellence in
Education published A Nation At Risk indicating that students from other nations were out
performing US students in a number of educational measures. Education At a Glance indicated
that the US had fallen behind other nations in terms of high school diplomas earned, ranking
tenth among other industrialized nations (Study: US lags in high school diplomas, 2004).
Nearly a generation since A Nation at Risk was first published and the search for a solution to
this dilemma continues.
A students decision to drop out of school is a cumulative consequence of several factors;
lack of academic motivation, lack of achievement, and low parent and teacher support (Bean,
1985, Rumberger, 1995; Tidwell, 1988). Researchers, acknowledging the value of social
support, have begun to investigate its benefits as it relates to academic attainment. Scales &
Taccogna (2001) believe social support is a key asset contributing to academic success, and
Malecki & Demaray (2003) support the theory that educational attainment needs social
connections. Interpersonal relationships promote student motivation by enhancing a sense of
belonging and facilitating interest in academic success (Wentzel, 1994). To address the lack of
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academic success of our youth, it is important to analyze the value of social support and its
impact on academic success.
Definitions of Social Support
Prior to understanding the academic benefits of social support for students, it is essential
to define the concept. Social support has been defined and measured in various ways. Some
researchers believed the concept to be too vague to be applied in scientific studies (Barrera,
1986). The lack of conceptual clarity was an impediment in the development of instruments
used to measure the construct (Procidano & Heller, 1983). Initially definitions were simple, but
grew to be more specific and encompassing. Caplan (1974) defined social support as a range of
significant interpersonal relationships that were considered important to an individuals
functioning. Barrera (1986) used three general categories, social embeddedness, perceived social
support, and enacted supports. Dunn, Putallaz, Sheppard and Lindstrom (1987) emphasized the
sources, as friends and family, within an individuals environment. Flaherty & Richmond (1989)
defined social support as one type of social exchange between network members.
Tardy (1985) believed that social support was a multifaceted construct and reduced its
lack of conceptual clarity by proposing a model of social support (Figure 1). He included five
salient aspects of the construct: direction, disposition, description/evaluation, content, and
network. Direction pertained to the path of social support; it is received from others, or provided
to others. Disposition referred to available or enacted social support. Available support was
quantity or quality of support that was accessible, and enacted support referred to actual
utilization of the social support resource. Description/evaluation represents two aspects.
Description refers to the qualitative characteristics of social support where as evaluation assesses
ones satisfaction with social support received. The fourth aspect was content, a description of
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the nature or type of support. Last was network, critical people giving or receiving social
support.




Social Support Model



DISPOSITION
Provided
~
Available Enacted
~
Described Evaluated
DIRECTION Received
DESCRIPTION/
EVALUATION
NETWORK
Community
Professionals
_
CONTENT
Co-Workers
Figure 1. Tardy's model of aspects of social support.
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Tardy incorporated the ideas of House (1981) into his model, for the aspect of content of
support (Nolton, 1994). Houses types of support were: emotional, instrumental, informational,
and appraisal support. Emotional support reflects caring, and refers to the provision of love,
empathy and trust. Instrumental support refers to the provision of helping behaviors as offering
of financial support, time or skills. Informational support refers to the provision of advice.
Appraisal support refers to evaluative feedback.
Tardys model/definition of social support, with the help of House, was adopted by many
researchers. The multifaceted definition had tremendous impact in assisting researchers to
measure the construct.
The definition of social support for the current study is based on the model of support
from Tardy. Social support is an individuals perception of general support or specific
supportive behaviors (available or enacted on) from people in their social network, which
enhances their functioning or may buffer them from some adverse outcomes (Malecki &
Demaray, 2002, p. 2).
Models of Social Support
How and when does social support assist an individual? There are two distinct
theoretical models of social support that both focus on the benefits provided; the stress buffering
and the main effect model. The stress buffering model based on the ideas of Cassel (1974) states
that support is beneficial in times of illness and stress, acting as a buffering mechanism. The
stressful life experience, psychological or physical, would be lessened under conditions of social
support, allowing for a better outcome (Cohen, Gottlieb, & Underwood, 2000). Under this
model the perception of the individual enables support to work in several ways; reducing the
negative affect surrounding the stressful event, reducing the perceived severity of the event, or
5


by increasing the problem solving ability of the individual. For example, some studies have
found significant negative correlations between social support and anxiety (Demaray & Malecki,
2002; White, Bruce Farrell & Kliewer, 1998), depression, (Cheng, 1997, 1998; Compas, Slavin,
Wagner & Vanatta, 1986; Demaray & Malecki, 2002) and drug use in adolescence ( Piko, 2000;
Frayenglass, Routh, Pantin, & Mason, 1997; Licitra-Kleckler & Waas, 1993).
The main effect model is based on the idea that support can be beneficial to all people at
any time, in the presence or absence of stress. As a main effect, support improves ones overall
psychological well being therefore reducing psychological problems (Cohen et al., 2000; Cohen
& Willis, 1985). According to Cohen et al., (2000) these benefits of social support are gained in
two ways; first, when a person is integrated in a social support network, and second, when an
individual perceives support availability. Being integrated in a support network can give one a
sense of belonging, stability, and security encouraging ones sense of self worth. This
integration can also reduce stress by providing helpful information and by being a source of
positive affect. Secondly, the perception that support is available if needed can be emotionally
and mentally satisfying. The perception of its availability can result in security and stability and
aid in a positive outcome when an individual is in distress.
The current study was guided by the main effect model. Social support from the network
of parents, teacher, close friend, classmate, and school can give a student a sense of security,
belonging, and a positive affect. It offers benefits to students at all times, in the presence or
absence of stress. This social support network, perceived or enacted, can impact the students
academic outcome.


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Benefits of Social Support
Research on the concept of social support is not new. It has proven advantageous for a
multitude of psychological and physical problems for a variety of subjects. Varri, Barani,
Wallander, Roe and Frasier (1989) analyzed social support and its impact on self-esteem and
psychological adjustment for youth with diabetes. Both peer and family support were predictors
of externalizing and internalizing behaviors. Young children were best able to cope with their
illness when they received support from family, while adolescents coped best with support from
peers. Cauce, Felner and Primavera (1982) investigated the affect of support on self-concept
with high risk adolescents. They found that a higher perception of overall support was related to
better peer self-concept for adolescents in lower socioeconomic, inner city environments.
Coldwell, Antonucci, Jackson, Wolford, and Osofsky (1997) were interested in the relationship
between social support and depression. A negative correlation was found indicating that when
children and adolescents perceived higher levels of support, depression was low. If the subjects
did not perceive support, depression increased. Other internalizing behaviors, as anxiety,
somatization, interpersonal sensitivity, and depression were also found to be negatively
correlated with childrens overall satisfaction with social support, while Obsessive Compulsive
Disorder was unaffected (Compas, Slavin, Wagner, and Vanatta, 1986)
While some researchers were interested in social support as an independent variable,
others were equally interested in the variables that impacted social support. Researchers
analyzed the effects of race, age and gender on social support. White, Bruce, Farrell, and
Kliewer (1998) found a stronger negative relationship for African Americans than Whites when
looking at anxiety and family support. Demaray and Malecki (2002) looked at the difference
between, Native Americans, African Americans, Hispanics and Whites and their reaction to
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social support. Native Americans reported less perceived social support from parents,
classmates, and friends than all others. African Americans perceived higher support than
Whites, who perceived higher support than Hispanics. In addition, younger children reported
more social support than older children from the sources of parents and teachers, and older girls
reported significantly more support from friends than males (Demaray et al., 2002).
Social Support and Academics
The concept of social support as it relates to academic success is far less researched, yet
has proven advantageous. Results have been documented in peer reviewed literature,
unpublished dissertations, and by not-for profit institutions.
The not- for profit Search Institute in Minneapolis, Minnesota has done extensive
research on asset building on nearly 100,000 students from 6th through 12th grade, from 213
American communities. In 1989, the Search Institute began studying the concept of assets in
youth, and in 1996, they developed a framework of forty developmental assets. Developmental
assets, or building blocks, are necessary for children to develop as healthy, responsible, caring
individuals (Keith, Huber, Griffin, & Villarruel, 2002: Scales, 1999; Hillaker, 2004). In general,
youth who possess many assets are more likely to report multiple thriving indicators including
school success, maintaining good health, resisting danger, impulse control, over coming
adversity, as well as avoid dangerous risk-taking behaviors (Search Institute, 2005).
The 40 assets are divided into two main categories, representing External and Internal
assets. Support, an External asset, is divided into: Family Support, Positive Family
Communication, Other Adult Relationships, Caring School Climate, and Parental Involvement in
Schooling. These Support assets have a major impact on school success. Strong, nurturing
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relationships support youth, engage them in learning, and focus them on positive thinking and
behavior (Scales & Taccogna, 2001, p. 35).
Other researchers have analyzed specific variables of academic success and social
support. Forman (1988) believes that social support and educational placement is a predictor of
scholastic competence, conduct, athletic competition, physical appearance, general self worth
and self esteem. Malecki and Elliott (1999) also found a positive relationship between academic
performance, educational focus, social skills, self concept and social support. Wenz-Gross and
Siperstein, (1997) discovered that students with learning disabilities sought problem-solving
support less often than non-disabled students from family and peers. While Forman (1988)
found that if students with learning problems or disabilities sought support, they had higher
scores on self worth.
Measuring Social Support
To fully understand social support, and reap its benefits, a global view is not adequate,
specifics are important. Nolton (1994) measured various sources of adolescent social support,
parent, teacher close friend, and classmate, and how these sources impacted the success of
elementary and middle school students. Furthering this research, Malecki and Demaray (2003)
analyzed of the same sources of support, and included an additional dimension, type of support.
They investigated the affects of emotional, informational, appraisal, and instrumental support,
from the sources of parent, teacher close friend, classmate, and school, for middle school
children. By viewing these specifics of the construct, source and type, greater detail of the
impact of social support was discovered.
The current study will analyze the source and type of social support perceived by the high
school adolescent. The sources are parent, teacher, classmate, close friend, and school. The
9


types are emotional, informational, appraisal, and instrumental. Each source of support offers
varying forms of support, impacting various aspects of the adolescents behavior and success.
These relationships will be correlated with indicators of academic success; grade point average,
school satisfaction, behavior, attendance, and extracurricular participation.
An understanding of these variables of support, and how they relate to the indicators of
success, can assist parents, educators, and other professionals to identify supportive behaviors as
tools for intervention. Methods of teaching, parenting practices, clinical services and
preventative educational programs, can be improved from the knowledge gained through the
analysis of adolescent social support networks.
Research Questions
There are nine main research questions. The scores analyzed are from both frequency
and importance ratings, and from the type and source of support. The main questions are:
1.) What source of support (parent, teacher, classmate, close friend, or school) is
perceived most frequently?
2.) What source of support (parent, teacher, classmate, close friend, or school) is
perceived to be the most important?
3.) What type of support (emotional, informational, appraisal, or instrumental) is
perceived most frequently?
4.) What type of support (emotional, informational, appraisal, or instrumental) is
perceived to be the most important?
5.) What types of support (emotional, informational, appraisal, or instrumental) do the
students most frequently perceive from within each source of support (parent, teacher, class mate
10


close friend, and school)? This question will be addressed separately for males and females, and
for each of the grade levels.
6.) What types of support (emotional, informational, appraisal, or instrumental) do the
students consider most important from within each source of support (parent, teacher, class mate
close friend, and school)? This question will be addressed separately for males and females, and
for each of the grade levels.
7.) Are certain types of social support, (emotional, informational, appraisal, or
instrumental) related to students academic success, attendance, extra curricular participation,
behavior, and school satisfaction indicators? This question will be addressed separately for
males and females, and for each of the grade levels.
8.) Are certain sources of support (parent, teacher, close friend, classmate, or school)
related to students academic success, attendance, extra curricular participation, behavior, and
school satisfaction indicators? This question will be addressed separately for males and females,
and for each of the grade levels.
9.) Are certain types of social support, (emotional, informational, appraisal, or
instrumental) from specific sources (parent, teacher, close friend, classmate, or school) related to
students academic success, attendance, extra curricular participation, behavior, and school
satisfaction indicators? This question will be addressed separately for males and females, and
for each of the grade levels.

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Chapter 2
Literature Review
Social Support - A Multifaceted Construct
Social support is a multi faceted construct, allowing for multiple forms of analysis.
Researchers have used numerous angles of examination. Social support has been examined as a
buffering agent, helping individuals through stressful situations, and as a resiliency agent
assisting individuals to excel. Components of social support have been investigated including
source (parents, teachers, friends, and classmates) and content (emotional, informational,
appraisal, and instrumental). The quantity and quality of the construct have been examined,
answering questions on frequency and importance of support. It has been analyzed as both a
criterion variable and a predictor variable. Considerations have been given to the effects of age,
gender, race, and group affiliation. The multifaceted nature of social support has contributed to
the opportunities for researchers to investigate the construct using a multitude of hypotheses.
Purpose of Support Buffering or Main Effect
A review of the literature, on social support for children, indicated that the traditional
focus of support was on the stress buffering model. Researchers analyzed factors that placed
children at risk for developing emotional, cognitive, and behavioral difficulties (Malecki and
Demaray, 2002). For example, Cowen, Pedro-Carroll, and Gillis (1990) researched the effects of
social support for children of divorce, revealing that it can lead to more positive outcomes.
Some looked at the benefits of social support as it is applied to children with learning disabilities
(Forman, 1988; Kloomok & Cosden, 1994; Rothman & Cosden, 1995; Wenz-Gross &
Siperstein, 1997). Others looked at the buffering effects of social support for high risk or
disadvantaged children (Cauce, Felner & Primavera, 1982) gifted children (Dunn, Putallaz,
12


Sheppard, & Lindstrom, 1987) and children victims of war (Llabre and Hadi, 1997).
Considerable evidence has encouraged others to examine the relationship between stressful
events or chronic life strain and mental or physical outcomes (Cohen & Willis, 1985).
Stress Buffering Studies of Social Support
Llabre and Hadi (1997) looked at the effect of social support on children who were
victims of the Gulf Crisis in Kuwait. Two years after the crisis, they examined the role of social
support in relation to trauma, psychological and physical distress. Participants were Kuwaiti
children who were exposed to various aspects of the war and varying degrees of trauma. The
results indicated social support did not mediate the relations between trauma and the outcome of
distress for boys, but it did for girls.
Foreman (1988) analyzed the buffering effects of social support and educational
placement on self esteem. She hypothesized that students with learning disabilities who
perceived access to support from parents, teachers, and peers would demonstrate higher levels of
self-concept compared to learning disabled students who perceived less access to social support.
She also predicted that students, placed in a special education program, would have better self-
concept than students who were not yet placed in a special education program.
The subjects in the Foreman study included 51 students, all diagnosed with learning
disabilities. There were 34 boys and 17 girls located in several elementary schools. The
instruments in the study included the Self-perception Profile for Learning Disabled Children
(SPPLD; Harter, 1985a), and the Social Support Scale for Children (SSSC; Harter, 1985b).
Results indicated that social support was a significant predictor of behavioral conduct,
athletic competence, scholastic competence, physical appearance, and general self-worth. Each
source of support, parents, teachers, and peers, had various effects on the out come variables.
13


High levels of classmate support had the greatest predictive impact on the students self-worth,
athletic competence, scholastic achievement, and physical appearance. Parental support had the
greatest predictive impact on students behavior. High levels of support from several sources
were predictive of high levels of self-esteem in various domains. Interestingly, social support
from teachers or close friends did not appear to have any statistically significant affect on the
students.
Cauce, Felner, and Primavera, (1982) examined social support as a buffering agent for
children at risk hypothesizing that support would help with adjustment for children from lower
socioeconomic and inner-city backgrounds. They examined dimensions of perceived support,
relationships between support and characteristics of the child, and indices of personal and
academic adjustment. Two hundred and fifty ninth and eleventh grade students were
administered the Social Support Rating Scale (SSRS; U. S. Department of Health, Education,
and Welfare, 1975). The scale measured the perceived helpfulness of teachers, clergy, friends,
and others.
Results were mixed. Support from the total network of sources was not significantly
related to achievement or self-concept, and support from friends was negatively correlated to
academic averages and greater absenteeism. Overall, family support was positively correlated
with scholastic self concept. For males, perceived support from teachers, counselors, and clergy
was associated with higher self-concept. Though results varied, in general, perceived social
support was positively related to the adjustment abilities of the at risk adolescents.
Main Effect Studies of Social Support
Recently, however, there has been increasing interest in studying the benefits of social
support under the main effect model, offering protective factors that promote resiliency in all
14


children (Brooks, 1994). The co-occurrence of support and life satisfaction in adolescents
(Suldo & Huebner, 2005), and peer support and adolescent happiness (Dew and Huebner, 1994)
have been analyzed. For the children in these studies, support assisted them to avoid problems,
find happiness, and obtain success.
Suldo and Huebener (2005) looked at difference in degrees of satisfaction and its
associations to adaptive functioning or maladaptive functioning in adolescents. Six hundred
ninety-eight students from three middle and two high schools were analyzed through the use of
seven self report instruments. Based on a life satisfaction report, adolescents were identified as
having extremely high, average, or low life satisfaction. Satisfaction was defined in terms of
interpersonal variables (social support from numerous sources), intrapersonal variables
(temperament and psychopathology) and cognitive variables (self-efficacy) (Suldo et al., 2005).
Results indicated that high life satisfaction co-occurred with high social support from
parents, close friends, classmates and teachers. Specifically, social support from classmates was
more closely related to high satisfaction than close friend support, and students who had high
teacher support also had high life satisfaction. Students who did not have high teacher support
had average and medium life satisfaction. The relationship between strong support from
classmate and teacher with high satisfaction suggests the school environment has a strong impact
on the life satisfaction of an adolescent. The schools made an important contribution to the well-
being of the adolescents.
Continuing with the main effect model of support, Demaray and Malecki, (2002a)
examined the levels of perceived social support and their impact on academic, social, and,
behavioral indicators considered important for the overall adjustment of children and adolescents
15


in school. They operationalized the construct into three levels of support; low, average, and,
high. The study consisted of students in grades 3 -12 from seven states (N = 1,711).
First, the researchers looked at the over all effects of perceived social support. Total
support had a high statistically significant negative relationship with both externalizing and
internalizing problem behaviors; a low but significant relationship with academic competence;
and moderately significant relationships with self-concept and adaptive skills.
Next, students categorized as low, average, or high recipients of support were compared.
The results indicated that overall, there was almost no difference between students with average
and high support regarding the academic, behavioral, and, social indicators. Both students with
high and average support had far fewer problematic indicators than students with low perceived
support. Students with high support were distinguished from students with average support by
their significantly higher scores on self-concept and student rated social skills.
Researchers suggested that there is a critical level of perceived support that is adequate
with regard to relationships with other indicators and there is not a significant difference beyond
this average or adequate level. High levels of support did not significantly improve scores on
indicator variables (Malecki et al., p 236, 2002).
In summary, social support has been thoroughly investigated as a buffering agent,
assisting children to overcome unfortunate difficulties, trials, and tribulations of life. Far less
research has focused on the benefits of social support for all individuals as they go about daily
activities accomplishing normal developmental tasks. Based on the overall benefits social
support has provided as a buffering agent, it has proven to be a valuable construct that should be
investigation further as an enhancer of performance, behavior, academics, and a catalyst for
success.
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Importance Verses Frequency of Social Support
There is a difference between frequency of social support and importance of social
support. Frequency pertains to how often one reports obtaining social support and importance
refers to the value one places on social support. Prior studies focused on the frequency and paid
little attention to what students considered important. One may receive little support from a
classmate, which may be detrimental to one individual, or a group of individuals, but irrelevant
to another. Almost all research on social support has investigated individuals perception of the
frequency with which they receive socially supportive behaviors from individuals in their social
network. Virtually no data are available that indicate what socially supportive behaviors are
important to the students (Demaray and Malecki, p 109, 2003). This critical role of importance
has been overlooked, ignoring a valuable form of social validity (Wolf, 1978). Recent research
suggests that students of various groups rate the frequency and importance scores differently
(Demaray and Malecki, 2003).
In 2001, Demaray and Elliott targeted a specific group of students as they investigated
the importance of support. A total of 94 boys, 48 diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity
Disorder (ADHD) and 46 without the disorder, reported on the importance and frequency of
social support with the use of the Student Social Support Scale (Nolton, 1994). Results indicated
that the boys with ADHD received overall less support than the boys without the disorder. The
importance of social support, however, did not differ. Both groups of boys considered social
support as important.
In 2003, Demaray targeted middle school students grouped as bullies, victims,
victim/bullies, or as a control group. Subjects, 499 students 6th through 8th grade, were given
the Child and Adolescent Social Support Scale (Malecki, Demaray, and Elliott, 2000), and a
17


bully questionnaire based on the Bully Survey (Swearer, 2001). Results indicated that the
frequency of social support was highest for the control group. The Importance of social support
was rated highest for the victim or victim/bullies group of students.
In 1999, Malecki and Elliott analyzed importance of social support for 198 students from
7 through 12 grade. No particular group was targeted. They used the Social Support Scale for
Students (Nolten, 1994), measuring sources of support from parents, teachers, classmates and
close friends, and types of support, emotional, informational, appraisal, instructional.
Results indicated that frequency and importance scores correlated significantly but
moderately with each other. Inspection of the top10 ranked items indicated that close friend
support was the most important source (4 out of 10 items), and emotional support was the most
important type of support (6 out of 10 items). Though importance and frequency were
moderately correlated, the researchers considered them as two distinct values of the construct.
In summary, research typically ignored importance and focused on the frequency of
support. The above mentioned studies however, considered importance and frequency as
separate and valuable research constructs. Differences have been discovered regarding
importance verses frequency scores for social support based on ones gender, grade levels, race
and disability status (Demaray and Malecki, 2003).
Sources of Support
Traditionally, overall global support was analyzed for adults and children. More recently
various sources of support have been taken into consideration. Social development of
adolescents is best considered in the contexts in which it occurs; that is relating to peers, family,
school, work, and community (American Psychological Association, 2002, p. 64). When the
factor of source is not included in a study, a researcher runs the risk of misinterpreting results.
18


Overall support may not be significant but further analysis of the benefits provided by the
various sources may prove significant. Researchers have gained valuable data on the construct
of support by analyzing support from various sources.
Peer Support
A natural progression in adolescents is the shift of focus from the importance of the
family to the importance of the peer group. As an adolescent attempts to establish a sense of
independence, he or she spends less time with parents and family, and more time with his or her
friends. For the adolescent, peers are a valuable and influential factor in everyday life, and
support from peers has a variety of consequences. A peer group has a function and an
importance that no other means of support can provide.
Friends and classmates function as a reference point for adolescents as their identity
develops. Through this identification with peers they begin to develop moral judgments and
refine values (Bishop & Inderbitzen, 1995). Psychosocial adjustments have been linked to
positive peer relations during adolescents. Simultaneously, peer rejection and social isolation
has resulted in a variety of negative behaviors and poor psychosocial adjustment (American
Psychological Association, 2002).
Friends and classmates also function as a source of powerful reinforces of ones
popularity, status, prestige, and acceptance. Acceptance by peers has a short term affect as well
as a long range impact, lasting well into adulthood. Bagwell, Newcomb, & Bukowski, (1998)
found that an adult, who as a fifth grader, had at least one close friend, had better self-worth
compared to an adult who had been friendless as a child.
East, Hess, and Lerner (1987) hypothesized that students of different sociometric groups
varied in regard to perceived peer social support, behavioral, psychosocial, and academic
19


achievement. One hundred and one sixth graders, categorized as peer-rejected, peer-neglected,
popular, or controversial, were included in this study. Their results indicated that students
rejected by peers experienced significantly less social support from peers, than did popular
children. Teacher ratings indicated that peer rejected children received significantly lower
scholastic and classroom conduct scores than controversial and popular children. Peer rejected
students also experienced more adjustment problems than popular students and exhibited
significantly lower self worth than popular students. The researchers suggested that rejected
childrens awareness of their status encouraged their social withdrawal, resulting in diminished
social support.
Several studies, already discussed, further support the importance of the adolescent peer
group. They found positive effects of classmate support on self worth (Foreman, 1998) and life
satisfaction (Suldo et al., 2005). Some believed that classmate support was consistently stronger
in its predictive abilities than any other source of support (Nolton 1994). In one study,
adolescents rated close friend support as the most important source (Malecki et al.,1999), and in
another, classmate and close friend support was rated highly by students with disabilities
(Demaray et al.,2003). Not all peer support was positive. Cauce et al., (1982) found that support
from friends was linked to lower academic averages and greater absenteeism.
No study of adolescent support should ignore the value, impact, or enormous influence of
peer group members. Thus, this study takes into account the effects of social support from peers.
It assesses the emotional, instrumental, appraisal, and instrumental support offered by classmates
and close friends to high school peers.


20


Parental Support
The parents of an adolescent may often feel that their ability to impact their son or
daughter is limited. Their adolescent is more interested in listening to the advice given by his or
her peers. Increased peer contact among teens is a healthy developmental stage, not an
indication that parents are less important to them (OKoon, 1997). In fact, teens often strive,
sometimes covertly, to identify with a parent (American Psychological Association, 2002).
Parents need to be aware of the continued value they have, the role they play, and that the
support they offer is crucial for the continued healthy development of their adolescent.
Numerous studies have attributed parental support for assisting their adolescent through
this often difficult developmental period. Foreman (1988) believed parental support had the
greatest predictive impact on a students behavior. Nolton (1994) found parental support to be
negatively correlated with teachers ratings of problem behaviors.
Other studies have found academic achievement affected by parental support (Karam,
2006). Specifically, students who experience high support from parents had significantly higher
academic achievement. In addition, high life satisfaction and low absenteeism were also
associated with high parental support (Suldo et al., 2005). Positive parental impact has been
seen in overall wellbeing. Family closeness and attachment in general, was deemed the most
important factor linked to not smoking, less use of drugs and alcohol, fewer suicide attempts, and
postponement in sexual intercourse for adolescents (Resnick, Bearman & Blum, 1997).
Identity development is often generally considered to be established in early childhood.
Research has indicated, however, that identity formation continues into young adulthood
Hillaker, (2004). Research has also indicated that for the adolescent, healthy identity
development involves a restructuring of the parent-child relationship, not a severing of ties or
21


attachments to parents (Brook, Whiteman & Finch, 2000). In fact, the provision of parental
emotional support and parental knowledge of their adolescents daily activities have been linked
with stronger identity achievement (Sartor & Youniss, 2002).
Gambone, Klem and Connell (2002) performed a meta-analysis of longitudinal data
based on what matters most for todays youth. They confirmed the importance and the impact of
the supportive parent. The researchers stated:
The dimensions of support from parents that matter are; they offer help when needed,
discuss school and future plans with their child, check up on homework, know what the
child is doing with his/her time, know his/her friends, discipline consistently, and are
emotionally supportive. When children have these supports they get better grades, have
higher test scores, better attendance, participate in more extra curricula activities, and are
less likely to drop out are more likely to have adaptive coping mechanisms and less
likely to engage in risky behavior. (p 29-30)

No study of adolescent support should ignore the value, impact, or enormous influence of
parents. Thus, this study takes into account the effects of social support from parents. It
assesses the emotional, instrumental, appraisal and instrumental support offered by parents as
they raise their son or daughter from early adolescence into young adulthood.
Teacher Support
Children bring to school a multitude of problems and many of these negative experiences
have to do with problems in emotional and social behavior related to adult child interactions
(Erickson & Pianta, 1989). According to Pianta (1999) adult child relationships are crucial for
the healthy development of the child and underlie much of what a child is called to do in school.
Pianta believes that the strain, placed on these relationships, contributes to the rates of school
related difficulties faced by our children.
Extant research suggests that adult-child relationships can be some of the most frequently
reported protective factors in relation to associations with competence in school age children (Garmez
22


1993). An under researched source of such adults is teachers and other adults in school settings (Pinata et
al, 1999). These relationships may be a crucial key in helping a child succeed in school.
In 1989, Pianta and Nimetz did a pilot study examining the student-teacher relationships
of 72 kindergartners and 24 teachers. Three instruments were used gathering information from
the perspective of teachers and parents. The Student-Teacher Relationship Scale (STRS; Pianta,
1989) looked at the dimensions of security and insecurity in the teacher-child relationship.
Security was reflective of a secure, warm relation with the student, one with trust, where the
teacher felt in tune with the student, a perception that the student felt safe with the teacher and
the teacher could console the student. Insecurity was a rating given to children who were
perceived as a challenge to their efforts to teach, constantly sought reassurance and help, reacted
negatively to separation from the teacher and responded negatively to consolation. The Teacher-
Child Rating Scale (TCRS) assessed the teachers ratings of problem behaviors and
competencies of the students. It was a measure of childrens social, behavioral and academic
competencies and difficulties. The Preschool Behavior Rating Scale (PBRS) was a behavior
rating scale administered to the parent and assessed their childs competence, acting out, and
anxiety.
The results indicated a positive correlation between the teachers rating of security and
competency and between ratings of insecurity and acting out. A similar correlation existed
between the parents rating of their childs relationship score and childs competence and acting
out score. Reported by the teachers, children who had more secure relationships were rated to
have more competence: insecure children were rated as having more behavior problems and less
competence. Thus, the relationship between the teacher and student was believed to effect
competence and behavior.
23


Karam, (2006) identified critical variables in the students perceptions of good student-
teacher relationships. Her sample was composed of 575 middle school students in grades 6-8.
She hypothesized that students would express a preference for teachers who promote class
structure, autonomy, and emotional support. Students completed four self reports in order to
assess attendance, life satisfaction, perception of social support, and academic success.
Results indicated that academic achievement was related to teachers provision of
autonomy support, emphasis on mastery learning, and on high expectations. Self-reported life
satisfaction was related to teachers emotional support (teacher involvement), emphasizing
mastery over performance learning, and having high expectations, while attendance was related
to teachers emphasizing mastery learning. Teacher support was also linked to student
engagement and to academic achievement.
In summary, research has indicated that teacher relationships and support are crucial for
the success of the child. The teacher-student relationship had an impact on academic
competence and acting out behaviors for kindergarten children (Pianta). For middle school
children, teacher support was a positive link to academic success and life satisfaction (Karam,
2006). Unfortunately, far less research exists focusing on the importance of these relationships
to high school adolescents. Thus, in addition to peers and parents, no study of adolescent
support should ignore the impact of the teacher. This study takes assesses the emotional,
instrumental, appraisal, and instrumental support offered by teachers as the students progress
through their high school journey.
School Support
A school is more that the sum of its parts, it is an environment, a community in which an
adolescent spends approximately eight hours a day for five days a week, and often more if a
24


student is actively involved in sports, clubs, or other related school social activities. The school
community has a climate that is acknowledged by the Search Institute of Minnesota as having an
important role in creating developmental assets in youth. Creating a caring school community is
systemic, and involves fostering positive relationships between and among students, teachers,
parents, counselors, administrators, hall monitors, secretaries, custodians, cafeteria workers, and
security guards, all of whom have some form of interaction with the students (Scales, 1999).
According to Starkman, Scales and Roberts (1999), it is necessary to use relationships as a lens
through which to: view school policies, procedures, and practices; create permanent changes in
school organization; develop school support services and cocurricular programs; effect changes
in curriculum and instruction; foster community partnerships, all in an attempt to make the entire
school environment a caring community and more conducive to school engagement, academic
achievement, great teaching, and learning. Unfortunately, schools often adopt organizational
practices that can undermine an adolescents experience of membership in a supportive school
community (Osterman, 2000). Schools that focus on the inadequacy and pathology of the student
miss the opportunity to discover systemic deficiencies that maybe causing the original problem.
A persons functioning should be viewed as the product of reciprocal interplay between
person and environment (Bandura, 1978) thus, this study assessed how school, as a community,
offers support that impacts students ability to be successful. It assessed the emotional,
instrumental, appraisal, and instrumental support offered by the school, to the students as they
progress through their high school years.
In summary, sources of support are critical and their analysis is essential when
researching the construct of social support. Each source plays a different role, and possesses
different opportunities to impact students. This study examines social support from class mates,
25


close friends, parents, teachers, and the school. These sources are an integral part of the high
schools adolescents daily life, and impact their ability to be successful.
Types of Support
Traditionally social support was viewed and measured in global terms. In 1993,
Winemiller, Mitchell, Sutliff, and Cline performed a meta-analysis, categorizing studies of adult
social support conducted between 1980 and 1987. Their findings indicated that 68.3% of the
studies focused on global support, 37.8% focused on esteem support 28.2 % focused on
instrumental support, 20.2 % assessed informational support. More recently, Malecki and
Demaray (2003), believed that studies have demonstrated that support played an important role
impacting outcomes however, these conclusions often did not consider the type of support
investigated. Despite the existence of a conceptual framework necessary to investigate types of
support, this aspect has been overlooked. Theoretical examinations of social support indicate
however, that content/type of support needs to be incorporated when examining this construct
(Winemiller et al., 1993).
Richmond, Rosenfeld, and Bowen, (1998) looked at types of support and their impact on
several dependent variables for middle school children. Their findings indicated that different
types of support affect different aspects of ones life. For example, listening support from peers
correlated with student grades, technical challenge support from parents correlated with
attendance; emotional support, emotional challenge support, and reality confirmation support,
from parents, peers, and teachers was associated with school satisfaction.
Cheng (1998) looked at Chinese adolescents and types of support. He found gender
differences in the relationship between support types and outcomes. Depression for adolescent
males was associated with a lack of instrumental support; depression for females was associated
26


with a lack of socioemotional support. Thus, Cheng found that there may be significant
differences in the interaction of gender, type of support, and outcome.
This present study is an extension of the research from Malecki and Demaray, (2003) that
focused on the type of social support children need. The researchers had two main hypotheses;
1.) that certain types of support (emotional, informational, appraisal, and instructional) were
most often perceived from certain sources of support (parent, teacher, classmate, and close
friend) and 2.) that certain types of support (emotional, informational, appraisal, and
instructional), from specific sources, were more frequently related to students social, behavioral,
and academic indicators.
The subjects of the Malecki et al., (2003) study were middle school age children.
Included were 263 students from grades 5 through 8, and 49 teachers. All were given a self-
report instrument. Teachers completed the Social Skills Rating System-Teacher version (SSRS-
T, Gresham & Elliott, 1990), focusing on the social skills, problem behaviors, and academic
competence of their students. Students were given the Child and Adolescent Social Support
Scale (Malecki et al., 2000) focusing on the source and type of perceived social support.
Frequency scores were indicators of the number of times a student perceived specific
types of support from within a specific source. Emotional and informational supports were
reported most frequently from parents; informational support was reported most frequently from
teachers and the school; emotional and instrumental supports were reported most frequently from
classmates and close friends. Not surprisingly, teacher informational support was perceived
significantly higher than teacher emotional, appraisal, and instrumental support.
Importance scores were an indicator of the value students placed on the type and source
of support. The importance scores had a similar pattern to the frequency scores. The most
27


important type of supports from within a specific source were; emotional support from parents;
informational support from the teacher and the school; emotional support from classmates and
close friends. Again, teacher informational support was rated significantly more important than
emotional, appraisal and instrumental support.
In looking at the sources and types of support as predictors of social skills, behavioral,
and academic indicators, no type of parental support was a significant predictor, however, all
types of parental support collectively were related to personal adjustment. Researchers suggest
that parental support is related to students well-being. Unexpectedly, no type of classmate or
close friend support was significantly correlated with any of the outcome variables. Past
research had associated peer support types with student successes (Demaray and Malecki, 2002a,
2002b). Surprisingly, teacher emotional support was the only significant predictor of social skills
and academic competence.
In summary, the Malecki et al., (2003) study of social support type and source proved
valuable, in terms of the detailed results. Most interesting were the data on support type as an
academic predictor. Though teacher informational support was perceived significantly higher
and significantly more important than teacher emotional support, it was teachers emotional
support that was the sole predictor of students academic success and social skills. Though
parental and peer emotional support were perceived as frequent, and important, they were not
predictors on any outcome variables. Teachers need to be aware that there should be a balance
between informational and emotional support provided by them to ensure student success and
well-being.


28


Gender and Developmental Differences in Social Support
It is crucial to consider the factor of gender when examining social support (Rhodes,
1998). Although both males and females value their friendships, there are gender differences in
the quality of their relationships (Buhrmester, 1996; Rhodes, 1998). In general, young males are
more involved with action oriented pursuits with friends, and girls are more interested in talking
(Smith, 1997). The age of a child also affects the structure of ones social support network.
Middle school adolescents tend to spend more time in groups where as the high school
adolescent often replace peer groups with one-on-one friendships and romantic relationships
(Micucci, 1998). It is difficult to separate the factors of gender and age when examining social
support. They have an interaction effect that needs to be assessed (Demaray & Malecki, 2003),
in addition to separate effects of their own.
Nolton (1994) developed the Student Social Support Scale in order to consider both
sources and content of support, and to investigate details of the construct of social support. In
the first phase, teachers, parents and students helped to develop and refine test items (N = 25). In
the second phase he verified the psychometric properties of the scale and validation of the
construct (N = 298 third through eighth grade students).
Results indicated that the perception of social support varied depending on the students
grade and gender. As predicted, females perceived higher levels of support than males within all
grade levels, from all sources of support. Both males and females reported a decrease of parent
support as the grade level increased, while the perception of classmate and close friend support
remained constant across all grade levels.
Malecki and Demaray (2002) examined the differences in students perception of social
support based on their age, gender, and race. They combined data from several studies, which
29


assessed support through the use of the Child and Adolescent Social Support Scale. In addition
280 sixth through eighth grade students were recruited school wide and added to the study. The
total sample was 1110 students from grades 3 to 12.
Results were as predicted; age, gender and race all had a significant impact on perceived
support. The pattern of social support in relation to age indicated a developmental trend.
Support scores were high with the younger children, and decreased with age. Specifically,
perceived parent and teacher support was significantly higher for middle school students than for
high school adolescents. The gender of the student had a significant impact; females Total
support score was significantly higher than the male Total support score. Elementary females
perceived higher support from classmates than elementary males. Middle school and high school
females perceived more support from close friends and classmates, than did their male
counterparts. The study also reported that race and disability status also had an impact on social
support.
In 2003, Demaray and Malecki researched the developmental (elementary, middle, and
high school) and group (race, disability and gender) differences in students perceptions of
support. This study utilized data from extant research resulting in 1,688 students in grades 3
through 12 from seven states.
Results indicated gender differences and grade differences. In terms of gender, girls
reported higher importance scores than boys F (1, 1681) = 15.61, p <.001. Specifically, girls
reported more importance on support from teachers, classmates and close friends, than did boys.
In terms of grade, elementary students considered support to be more important than middle
school students, who considered support to be more important than high school students. The
younger students reported all sources of support as more important.
30


A significant grade and gender interaction was reported, F (2, 1521) = 11.18, p < .001. In
elementary and middle school, both girls and boys reported similar importance scores for social
support. At the high school level, females reported significantly higher rating on the importance
of support than the males. In high school, the females ratings remained consistent, and the
males important ratings dropped. Thus, the gender differences did not occur until the high
school level.
Thus no study of adolescent support should ignore the impact of gender and age. A
preponderance of support studies considering these variables focus on younger children, and
leave the adolescent less explored. The current study takes into account the effects of gender and
age on the perceptions of social support from the high school adolescent.
Adolescent Perceptions of Support
One last aspect to examine from the multifaceted construct of social support is
perception. Whose perception should be taken into account? Demaray & Malecki, (2003)
believe that adolescents perceptions of social support can be the basis for the development of
effective interventions intended to improve academic outcomes. An adolescents perception and
reporting are informative and provide researchers and educators with valuable information on
supportive teacher behaviors that they prefer (Karam, 2006) as well as appropriate parental and
peer behaviors. They articulate their perceptions in a reliable and consistent manner. Research
has shown a direct and positive relationship between students reports of perceived teacher
support and school achievement, academic motivation, and social-emotional and behavior status
(Brand & Felner, 1996; Eccles & Midgley, 1989). According to Wentzel (1997) adolescent
reporting of teacher support is probably a more powerful measurement method than other-person
reporting. Unfortunately, the predominance of the literature does not focus on the perception of
31


the student but from an adults perspective (Major-Ahmed, 2002). Differences between adult
reporting and student perceptions can lead to a misinterpretation of the situation. This current
study relies on the perception of the adolescents as they assess and report on their social support
network.
Conclusion
Several conclusions can be drawn from the extant research and from the empirical studies
in this literature review on social support. Few studies have examined the effects of social
support and the adolescent population, focusing far more on younger children or adults. Many
believe that by third grade, a childs pathways are fairly set (Alexander & Entwisle, 1988). This
generally accepted belief has taken the focus off of examining the adolescent, leaving this age
comparatively less explored (Pianta, 2000).
Traditionally, studies of perceived social support are global in nature, at times
considering one or two sources, and possibly one type of support, usually emotional. This
approach short changes the multifaceted nature of the construct of support. As indicated in the
empirical studies reviewed, more knowledge has been extracted from an examination of the
details of both source and type of support. Support from specific sources, (i.e. parent, teacher,
classmate) offers different forms of support (i.e. emotional, appraisal) that assists the recipient in
accomplishing different tasks and completing various goals. Utilizing only a global examination
of perceived support may result in an inaccurate analysis.
In addition, specific factors of age and gender separately and interactively have been seen
to change the benefits provided by support, and impact the strength of its consequences, yet they
too have been overlooked in the majority of studies. The quantity (frequency) of support has
been far more examined than quality (importance) of support, even though some studies have
32


shown they are two separate constructs resulting in different reactions from subjects. Lastly, the
preponderance of studies are reactive in nature (buffering model), instead of proactive (main
effect model). They focus on how to help people out of bad situations, instead of how to prevent
the occurrence in the first place. Considering all the adolescent violence on the streets and the
recent shootings on school campuses, Columbine and Virginia Tech, researchers need to focus
more time, effort, and, resources on social support as a source of strength for all individuals as it
has been shown to guide adolescents on the path to success, happiness, and, life satisfaction.
This study adds to existing research by studying the impact of the adolescents social
support network. It is an extension of the Malecki and Demaray (2003) study that focused on
middle school students adjustment based on the type of support (emotional, informational,
appraisal, and instrumental) received from several sources of support (parent, teacher, close
friend and classmate). The subjects were from grades five to eight. The current study will be
examining high school students adjustment based on the type of support received from several
sources of support. In addition, this study will utilize the new measure of school support in the
Child and Adolescent Social Support Scale, not used in the Malecki and Demaray (2003) study.
Research Questions and Predictions.
Based on previous research, the current study was designed to answer the following
research questions:
1.) What source of support (parent, teacher, classmate, close friend, or school) is
perceived most frequently?
2.) What source of support (parent, teacher, classmate, close friend, or school) is
perceived to be the most important?
33


3.) What type of support (emotional, informational, appraisal, or instrumental) is
perceived most frequently?
4.) What type of support (emotional, informational, appraisal, or instrumental) is
perceived to be the most important?
5.) What type of support (emotional, informational, appraisal, or instrumental) do the
students most frequently perceive from within each source of support (parent, teacher, classmate
close friend, and school)? This question will be addressed separately for males and females, and
for each of the grade levels.
6.) What types of support (emotional, informational, appraisal, or instrumental) do the
students consider most important from within each source of support (parent, teacher, class mate
close friend, and school)? This question will be addressed separately for males and females, and
for each of the grade levels.
7.) Are certain types of social support, (emotional, informational, appraisal, or
instrumental) related to students academic indicators of success, GPA attendance, extra
curricular participation, behavior, and school satisfaction? This question will be addressed
separately for males and females, and for each of the grade levels.
8.) Are certain sources of support (parent, teacher, close friend, classmate, or school)
related to students academic indicators of success, GPA, attendance, extra curricular
participation, behavior, and school satisfaction? This question will be addressed separately for
males and females, and for each of the grade levels.
9.) Are certain types of social support, (emotional, informational, appraisal, or
instrumental) from specific sources (parent, teacher, close friend, classmate, or school) related to
students academic indicators of success, GPA, attendance, extra curricular participation,
34


behavior, and school satisfaction indicators? This question will be addressed separately for
males and females, and for each of the grade levels.
Based on review of the research, the following predictions were developed and tested as a
means of addressing the research questions.
Prediction 1and 2. It was predicted the close friend and classmate support would be the
most frequent and most important source of support perceived by adolescents. This prediction
was based on the research from Malecki and Elliot (1999).
Prediction 3 and 4. It was predicted that emotional support would be perceived to be the
most frequent and most important type of support. This prediction was based on the research
from Malecki and Demaray (2003).
Prediction 5. It was predicted that different types of support would be perceived more
frequently from certain sources; from parents, emotional and informational support; from
teachers, informational support; from classmates and close friends, emotional support. No
prediction was made on the type of support most frequently perceived from the school due to
lack of data on this scale. This prediction was based on the research from Malecki and Demaray
(2003).
Prediction 6. It was predicted that different types of support would be perceived more
important from certain sources; from parents, emotional support; from teachers, informational
support; from classmates and close friends, emotional support. No prediction was made on the
type of support perceived most important from the school due to lack of data on this scale.
Malecki and Demaray (2003).
Prediction 7. It was predicted that certain types of social support (emotional,
informational, appraisal, or instrumental) would be related to students academic success,
35


attendance, extra curricular participation, behavior, and school satisfaction indicators. No
predictions were made based on the type of support.
Prediction 8. It was predicted that certain sources of support (parent, teacher, close
friend, classmate, or school) would impact students out come variables: GPA would be effected
by teacher support (Pianta et.al, 1989; Karam, 2006), attendance would be effected by parent
support (Suldo & Huebner ,2005) and teacher support (Karam, 2006), extracurricular
participation would be effected by classmate support (Foreman, 1988), behavior would be
effected by parent support (Nolton 1994; Foreman, 1988), and school satisfaction would be
effected by teacher and classmate support (Suldo & Huebner ,2005).
Prediction 9. It was predicted that certain types of support from specific sources would
impact students outcome variables; GPA would be affected by teacher emotional support
(Malecki and Demaray, 2003), school satisfaction would be effected by teacher emotional
support (Karam, 2006). It was further predicted that grade and gender would impact the effects
of the types of support from the sources as they relate to students out come variables. It is
predicted that younger students would perceive higher levels of support and girls would perceive
more support than males. This prediction was based on the research from Malecki and Demaray
(2002), Demaray and Malecki (2003), and Nolton (1994).
.


36


Summary of Social Support Studies
Author Description of Support, Source, Type,& Impact
(positive correlations unless indicated otherwise)
Situation Age,
Gender
Llabre & Hadi
(1997)
Relieved stress for females Gulf War
Victims
children
Foreman (1988) Classmate support predictive of self worth,
athletic competence, scholastic achievement,
physical appearance.
Parental support predictive of behavior.
Teacher support- no predictive effect.
Close friend- no predictive effect.
Learning
Disabled
Elemen-
tary
school
Cauce, Felner &
Primavera (1982)
Friend support- negatively correlated to
academics and to greater absenteeism.
Family support- correlated to scholastic self-
concept.
Teacher support- correlated to males self
concept.
At Risk,
Disadvant-
aged
Grades
9 & 11
Suldo &
Huebener (2005)

Parental support- correlated with high life
satisfaction, low absenteeism.
Classmates support- high life satisfaction.
Teachers support- high life satisfaction.
Life
Satisfaction
Middle
and
High
School
Demaray &
Malecki (2002a)


Total support- negative correlation to
externalizing and internalizing problem behaviors,
positive correlation to academic competence, self
concept and adaptive skills.
High support- linked to high self concept & high
social skills.
Critical
Levels of
Social
support
Grades
3 to 12
Demaray &
Elliott, (2001)

Boys with ADHD received less support than boys
without, however, both groups considered social
support as equally important.
Boys with
ADHD &
Importance
Elemen-
tary
school
Demaray, (2003)

Importance of support was highest for victims &
victim/ bullies compared to bullies/control group.
Bullies &
bullies/victim
Grades
6 to 8
Malecki & Elliott
(1999)

Close friend support- was the most important &
frequent followed by classmate, parent & teacher.
Emotional support- was the most important type
Importance
of support &
psychometric
properties
Grades
7 to12
East Hess &
Lerner (1978)
Rejected peers- lower academics, poor conduct,
adjustment problems, lower self-worth.
Popular peers- higher academics, good conduct,
fewer adjustment problems, higher self-worth.
Impact of
Peer support
Grade 6
Karam (2006) Parent support- linked to academic achievement.
Teacher emotional support linked to life
satisfaction, teachers mastery learning approach
linked to attendance, teachers overall support
linked to engagement and achievement.
Teacher
Support
Grades
6 to 8
37


Pianta & Nimetz
(1989)
Secure relationship with teacher correlated to
better grades & behavior
Teacher
Support
Kinder-
garten
Richmond
Rosenfeld &
Bowen,(1998)
Peer listening support linked to student grades.
Parent technical challenge support- attendance.
Emotional support and reality confirmation from
parents, peers & teachers - associated with school
satisfaction
Types of
support
Middle
school
Cheng (1998) Instrumental support- negatively correlated with
depression for males
Socioemotional support- negatively correlated
with depression for females
Type, source
& outcome
variables
adolesc
ents
Malecki &
Demaray, (2003)
Most important type of support from sources;
parents - emotional, teachers -informational,
friends & classmates emotional.
Most frequent types of support from sources;
parents- emotional & informational, teachers-
informational, friends & classmates emotional&
instrumental.
Teacher emotional support was a predictor of
social skills & academic competence.
Parental support was not a predictor variable,
though it was related to personal adjustment.
Classmate & friend support were not correlated
with dependent variables.
Type, source
& outcome
variables
Middle
School
Nolton (1994) Classmate support had strongest predictive
abilities.
Parental support was linked to behavior.
Females had more support than males.
Younger had more support than older from
parents & teachers.
Classmate & friend support remained consistent
across grades.
Source, grade
& gender
Grades
3 to 8
Malecki &
Demaray (2002)
Perceived parent & teacher support decreased
with age.
Females perceived more support than males.
Race & disability also affected support.
Age, gender
& race
Grades
3 to 12
Demaray &
Malecki (2003)
Girls perceived support to be more important
from teachers, classmates & friends than boys.
Younger students perceived support to be more
important in general than older.
Gender differences occurred at the high school
level, not prior.
Students with disabilities rated classmate and
close friend as more important than students
without disabilities.
Importance
ratings age
& gender
Grades
3 to 12
38


Chapter 3
Methodology
Introduction
The purpose of this study is to assess the impact of social support on the high school
adolescent. Social support is multifaceted. The focus in this study is on the source of support
and on the type of support given. The sources of social support are teachers, parents, close
friends, classmates, and the school. The types of support are emotional, informational,
instrumental, and appraisal support. The sources and the types of support are believed to have an
impact on several important, developmental dependent variables; academic performance, school
attendance, school satisfaction, participation in extra curricular activities, and behavior. In
addition, the variables of gender and grade level are assessed to determine if they have an impact
on perceived social support.
The conclusions of this study are intended to heighten awareness of the importance and
the impact of a social support network for the adolescent. Each source of the network has some
form of support that can be offered, impacting various aspects of the adolescents behavior and
success. Adolescents face many obstacles, their perception of a social support network is
crucial. Investigations of students perceptions of social support will assist educators and parents
identify crucial supportive behaviors that can be targeted for interventions.
Subjects
This study took place in a school district serving a student population of 2252 students in
the western part of New York State. According to the US Census Bureau of 2007, the
community had a population of 16,136, encompassed 4.09 square miles and had a house hold
median income of $37, 523, where as the New York State median house hold income was
39


$41,763.00 (factfinder.census.gov). The district was composed of 4 elementary buildings,
containing grades kindergarten to 5
th
grade, one middle school containing grades 6-8, and one
high school for grades 9-12.
For the purposes of this study only the high school population was asked to participate.
The high school was composed of 750 students with the following ethnic breakdown; 96.0 %
white, 0.9% black, 1.0% Hispanic and 1.4% Asian or American Indian. The special education
students composed 14% of the population and 15% of the student body was eligible for a free or
reduced lunch.
The present research was performed in a natural setting, thus the students were subjects
of convenience. All high school students were asked to be volunteer participants however, only
471 students completed the questionnaires: 243 female, 214 male and 14 students who did not
indicate their gender. Included were 134 freshmen, 107 sophomores, 127 juniors, and 103
seniors. Special education students with guided study and resource room were included in the
study however, self-contained special education students were not included. The non
participants were absent or chose not to participate.
Variables
There were five dependent variables analyzed; academic performance, extracurricular
participation, school satisfaction, attendance, and behavior. The measures were obtained from a
demographic self report. Academic performance referred to the grades obtained in English,
mathematics, social studies, and sciences for the 2006 2007 school year. They were the core
subjects, required by New York State. Extracurricular activity referred to school or community
athletic programs and organized clubs. School attendance acknowledged full days of
absenteeism, excused or unexcused. School satisfaction was defined in general terms. Students
40


indicated the degree that they were generally satisfied or dissatisfied with their high school
experience.
The independent variable of social support was measured from the students point of
view. Social support was defined as an individuals perceptions of general support or specific
supportive behaviors from people in their social network, which enhances their functioning or
may buffer them from some adverse outcomes (Malecki & Demaray, 2002, p. 2). Support can
be divided into four distinct supportive constructs: emotional, instrumental, informational, and
appraisal support (House, 1981). According to House, emotional support consists of feelings of
love and trust; appraisal support consists of evaluative feedback; informational support is advice
or information; and instrumental support is the provision of resources including time, money and
materials. All forms of support are necessary for adolescent development.
Instrumentation
No construct is accurately reflected in a single operation of measurement (Meier, 2006).
Aggregation of data collected through a variety of methods improves reliability and validity of
measurements, and alleviates mono-method, mono-operation biases (Meier, 2006). However,
due to the constraints of the school system, (principal, superintendent, and board of education
members) a mono-method was the only option allowed for this study. According to Kagan
(1988), most personality research was based on the use of the self-report. In addition, self
reports used to assess perceptions make unobservable data available for analysis (La Greca,
1990). In this study, the data were collected via two self-report rating scales, completed by the
students. The instruments were the Child and Adolescent Support Scale (CASSS; Malecki and
Demaray, 2003), and a demographic questionnaire (Appendix C and D).

41


Child and Adolescent Support Scale.
Social support was measured with the CASSS (Malecki et al., 2003), a rating scale that
measures students perceived social support. Its purpose is to theory build and to identify
students in need of additional social support. The CASSS acknowledges the multidimensions of
the social support construct. It measures support in terms of source and type, and rates them by
importance and frequency scores. There are four types of perceived support, (emotional,
informational, appraisal, and instrumental) from five sources of social support (parents, teachers,
classmates, close friends and school).
Each source of support is a subscale, containing three items from each type of support,
for a total of 12 items per subscale, resulting in a total of 60 items. My parents understand me
is an item exemplifying emotional support from the parent subscale. My teacher spends time
with me when I need help is an instrumental item from the teacher subscale. My classmates
tell me Ive done a good job when Ive done something well is an appraisal item from the
classmate subscale, and My close friend gives me ideas when I dont know what to do is an
informational item form the close friend scale.
The five sources (parents, teachers, classmates, close friends and school) have both
frequency and importance scores. The frequency score indicates how often a certain behavior is
perceived by the adolescent. They are measured by a 6 point Likert scale with scores ranging
from 1 (never) to 6 (always). The importance score indicates how important that behavior is
considered to be, according to the adolescent. Importance ratings are measured by a 3 point
Likert scale with scores ranging from 1 (not important) to 3 (very important).
Scoring the CASSS is a matter of calculating frequencies from a variety of sources.
Scores can be obtained to determine the difference between each source as well as differences
42


within each source. The between group comparisons allow the sources of support to be compared
to each other, by frequency and importance (i.e. teachers support verses parental support).
These calculations, for both frequency and importance ratings, can be performed by summing the
frequency on the 12 items for each subscale (parent, teacher, classmate, close friend, and school).
Each type of support may be scored for each source of support (i.e. parental emotional
support, parental informational support, parental appraisal support, and parental instrumental
support). Thus, items representing each type of support (emotional, informational, appraisal, and
instrumental) can be summed separately, within each source of support.
The CASSS has gone through several revisions. The original version was called the
Student Social Support Scale, (SSSS; Nolten, 1994). The SSSS was designed to address the lack
of comprehensiveness of instruments measuring social support. It was observed that many
researchers measured social support from only one source, as in parents, or teachers. The scale,
created by Nolton (1994) was influenced by Tardys (1985) multidimensional view of social
support. The SSSS was designed to assess emotional, instrumental, and appraisal support from
parents, teachers, classmates and close friends, and describes social support that is available and
received by children (Malecki et al., 1999, p. 474). It was a 60 item questionnaire that
assessed social support, from the students perspective, and was considered appropriate for
students from grade 3 to 12.
In 1999, the scale was adjusted, and the name was changed to the CASSS (Malecki,
Demaray, Elliott, & Nolton, 1999). Questions were made age appropriate, by the creation of two
levels; level 1 addressed students from grades 3-8 and level two addressed students in grades 9-
12. In addition, the instrument was scaled down to 40 questions. In 2000, the CASSS (Malecki,
Demaray, & Elliott, 2000) was revised again. The final revision included three changes; the
43


instrument changed from two forms to one form, appropriate for grades 3 -12; new items were
added, and others were deleted to create an equal number of items for the four subscales; lastly,
an additional subscale for school support was added, resulting in a 60 item scale.
The original CASSS (Malecki et al., 1999) had evidence for reliability and validity from
data on over 1,000 students (Malecki & Demaray, 2002). The recent version (CASSS, 2000) has
also been vigorously analyzed through numerous unpublished studies (Karam, 2006; Lang, 2005;
Poll, 2003) as well as published studies (Demaray & Malecki, 2002; Demaray & Malecki, 2003;
Malecki & Demaray 2003). The three published studies, included 905 students from grades 3-8,
provided strong evidence for psychometric properties for the CASSS (2000); alpha = .96
reliability for the total score, and r. = .78 for test retest reliability . In addition, the CASSS
manual (Malecki, Demaray & Elliott, 2004) provided strong evidence for internal consistency for
the subscale scores with alphas ranging between .93 to .96 (n = 586 for parent, teacher, close
friend, classmate, and school) and .97 (n= 657) for the total frequency score. Test-retest
correlations, established 8 to 10 weeks after the initial administration, ranged from .75 to .78 for
the frequency total score and from .58 to .74 on the frequency subscale scores (Malecki et al.,
2004).
The CASSS manual contained evidence for factor structure. Factor analysis from data on
586 fifth to twelfth graders indicated a clear five-factor structure, corresponding to the five
subscales (parent, teacher, classmate, close friend and school), ranging from .60 to .84 within
each factor. No items were dual loaded. The factors contained eigenvalues that ranged from
22.147 to 2.65 (Malecki et al., 2004).
Inter rater reliability was calculated for the CASSS 2000, focusing on the type of support
given (emotional, appraisal, instrumental, and informational) (Malecki and Demaray, 2003).
44


Five graduate students were asked to categorize each item in terms of the four types of support.
Ninety two percent of the items were categorized correctly, demonstrating that the items reflect
the type of support as intended by the authors.
Validity is evidenced by convergent, divergent or predictive validity. The CASSS was
tested through comparisons with numerous similar instruments indicating strong convergent
validity; the Social Support Scale for Children (SSSC; Harter, 1985) r = .70 (Demaray &
Malecki, 2002), and the Social Support Appraisal Scale (SSAS; Dubow & Ullman, 1998) r = .56
(Malecki & Demaray, 2003). Construct validity was supported by divergent validity with other
measures of separable psychological constructs as social skills, self-concept, externalizing and
internalizing behaviors, while possessing high correlations with measures of similar constructs
(Malecki et al., 2000; Malecki & Elliott, 1999).
Demographic Survey
A Survey was developed to collect demographic information on the dependent variables
of academic success, extracurricular activities, school satisfaction, attendance, and behavior. For
academic success, students self reported their overall grade average as well as grades in English,
math, social studies, and science by a Likert-type scale, indicating grades ranging from A (100 -
90) to F ( 64 and lower). For extracurricular activities students were given a list of all possible
school related activities and asked to identify the activities, in which they participated, during
their high school career. General school satisfaction was assessed on a seven point Likert-type
scale with questions ranging from very dissatisfied to very satisfied. School attendance was
assessed via items inquiring on the frequencies of excused and unexcused absences. It was
measured on a seven point Likert-type scale with answers range from never, to over 25 times a
year.
45


Data Collection Procedure
Approval was obtained from the building principal, the Assistant Superintendent and the
Superintendent of the school system. Passive consent was obtained from all of the students
parents via the principals monthly school news letter. The passive consent letter informed the
parents of the nature and focus of the research, as well as informing them of the potential benefit
of improving the social support system found within the school (Appendix E). If parents did not
want their adolescent to participate, they were asked to call the school Guidance Department. In
addition, during the administration, students were given the opportunity not to participate.
Prior to surveying the student body, the primary researcher gave the survey to nine
student volunteers in order to gauge the time needed to complete the questions. Three students
were freshmen, two were sophomores, and four were seniors. One student had a 504 Plan, and
one had guided study. The nine students took the survey after school and were allowed to move
at their own pace, which indicated that 30 minutes were optimal.
To administer the survey to the entire student body, the primary investigator had
assistance from the high school principal and the teaching staff who were informed of this study
at a staff meeting. Survey administration took place in an extended home room period, allowing
the students 30 minutes to complete the survey. The student body was divided among 50
homerooms allowing for approximately 15 to 18 students per teacher. All home rooms were
equipped with TV monitors. From the high schools Media Center, speaking via a live TV
broadcast, the primary investigator introduced herself and read the student Verbal Consent Letter
(Appendix E). The letter explained the nature of the research, indicating that their responses to
the surveys were voluntary, anonymous and confidential. No names were requested on any of
the survey forms. The primary investigator then asked the teachers to pass out the survey packet
46


to the students. The students had prior knowledge of this event via the announcements from the
principal earlier in the week and through a parent information letter sent home, however, the
primary investigator was accessible to the teachers, if their students had any questions. Teachers
were informed to call the primary investigator in the media center to address the questions. If the
student chose not to participant, he/she remained in the class, and focused on other school work.
Teachers collected the materials and delivered them to the Guidance Center at the end of the
period.
Research Questions and Data Analysis
There are nine main research questions. The scores analyzed are from both frequency
and importance ratings, and from the type and source of support. The main questions are:
1.) What source of support (parent, teacher, classmate, close friend, or school) is
perceived most frequently?
2.) What source of support (parent, teacher, classmate, close friend, or school) is
perceived to be the most important?
3.) What type of support (emotional, informational, appraisal, or instrumental) is
perceived most frequently?
4.) What type of support (emotional, informational, appraisal, or instrumental) is
perceived to be the most important?
5.) What types of support (emotional, informational, appraisal, or instrumental) do the
students most frequently perceive from within each source of support (parent, teacher, class mate
close friend, and school)? This question will be addressed separately for males and females, and
for each of the grade levels.

47


6.) What types of support (emotional, informational, appraisal, or instrumental) do the
students consider most important from within each source of support (parent, teacher, class mate
close friend, and school)? This question will be addressed separately for males and females, and
for each of the grade levels.
7.) Are certain types of social support, (emotional, informational, appraisal, or
instrumental) related to students academic success, attendance, extra curricular participation,
behavior, and school satisfaction indicators? This question will be addressed separately for
males and females, and for each of the grade levels.
8.) Are certain sources of support (parent, teacher, close friend, classmate, or school)
related to students academic success, attendance, extra curricular participation, behavior, and
school satisfaction indicators? This question will be addressed separately for males and females,
and for each of the grade levels.
9.) Are certain types of social support, (emotional, informational, appraisal, or
instrumental) from specific sources (parent, teacher, close friend, classmate, or school) related to
students academic success, attendance, extra curricular participation, behavior, and school
satisfaction indicators? This question will be addressed separately for males and females, and
for each of the grade levels.
Data Analysis
The data from the questionnaires were entered into an excel program and transferred into
the computer program SPSS. A total of 63 scale scores were computed (i.e. parent emotional
support for frequency and for importance) allowing for the necessary data analysis.
48


Research Questions 1, 2, 3 and 4. Descriptive statistics were used to assess the frequency
and importance in the source of support, and to assess the frequency and importance in the type
of support.
Research Question 5. The Friedman analysis and paired t tests were used to determine
what types of support (emotional, informational, appraisal, instrumental) students most often
perceive from within each of the sources (parent, teacher, classmates, close friend and school).
Paired t tests were used to see if the differences of the support types from the support sources,
found with the Friedman, were statistically significant. To assess the impact of gender and
developmental differences, independent t tests and one way ANOVAS were used respectively.
Research Question 7 and 8. To determine if (7) certain types of support and if (8) certain
sources of support were more related to student academic indicators of success (attendance,
GPA, school satisfaction, and extracurricular participation) a series of Pearson correlations were
conducted. To assess the impact of gender and developmental differences, independent t tests
and one way ANOVAS were used respectively.
Research Question 9. To determine if certain types of support from specific sources were
more related to student academic indicators of success (attendance, GPA, school satisfaction, and
extracurricular participation) a series of Pearson correlations and regression analyses were
conducted. To assess the impact of gender and developmental differences, independent t tests
and one way ANOVAS were used respectively.


49


Chapter IV
Results of Data Analysis
Introduction
The purpose of this study was to analyze the value of social support and its impact on
academic success for the high school adolescent. The sources of support - parent, teacher,
classmate, close friend, and school, and the types of support - emotional, informational,
appraisal, and instructional, were assessed. Each source of support offered various types of
support, impacting adolescent behavior. These supportive relationships were correlated with
indicators of academic success; grade point average, school satisfaction, behavior, attendance,
and extracurricular participation. In addition, the impacts of gender and grade level were
evaluated, as independent variables.
Preliminary analyses were performed that resulted in the consolidation of several
variables and for the consolidation of several research questions. Afterward, data were further
analyzed to determine the accuracy of the research predictions. A variety of statistical
techniques were utilized including Pearson correlations, paired t tests, Univariate Analysis of
Variance (ANOVA), regression analysis, and descriptive statistics. In addition, the Friedman
was used to establish statistical significance and to designate rank, followed by paired t tests for
further analysis. Each hypothesis is followed by a report of the analysis used and subsequent
results.
Preliminary Analysis
The preliminary analyses began with close look at the reliability of each of the test
scales. Cronbachs Alpha test of reliability was performed for each of the five subscales (see
Table 1). The alphas provided strong evidence for internal consistency and reliability of the
50


CASSS (2000). The average alpha score was .95. Individually, the alphas were; Parent .943,
Teacher .939, Classmate .943, Close Friend .954, and School .967. The new School subscale,
not yet assessed for its psychometric properties, had the highest reliability of the five scales.
Second, a preliminary analysis of the data tested for differences in grade level (grades 9,
10, 11, and 12) on sources and types of support using a one way ANOVA. The analysis included
40 calculations, combinations of source and type of support (i.e. parent emotional support), for
both Importance and Frequency Scales. The ANOVA for grade level (see Table 2) resulted in
only four significant differences: for the Frequency Scale, only classmate instrumental support
was significant (F = 2.99), p< .05, and for the Importance Scale, close friend emotional support
(F = 4.15), p < .01, close friend appraisal support (F = 2.86), p <.05, and close friend
instrumental support (F = 4.70), p < .01.were significant. The remaining 36 grade level analyses
were statistically insignificant
Since the grade level had little overall significant impact on the sources and types of
support for these adolescents, the variable was removed from further calculations. The sample
was viewed as one, a sample of high school students.
A third preliminary analysis resulted in the decision to use the variable of gender in the
analyses. A series of t tests assessed the overall impact of a students gender on the sources and
types of support (see Table 3). Descriptive statistics can be found in Table 3a and 3b. These
analyses included 40 calculations, combinations of source and type of support (i.e. parent
emotional support), for both Importance and Frequency scales. The analyses indicated 18
significant gender differences that led to the decision to use gender as an independent variable.
A fourth preliminary analysis of the data examined the relationship between the
Importance and Frequency Scales of the CASSS. The Frequency scale, a Likert scale ranging
51


from 1to 6 (Never to Always), indicated how often a student perceived the support. The
Importance Scale, a Likert scale ranging from 1 to 3 (Not Important to Very Important),
indicated the importance of the support considered by the student. Descriptive statistics
indicated identical ranking for the five sources and for the four types of support for both
Importance and Frequency scales. For sources, the rank order was: close friend, teacher, parent,
classmate, and school (see Table 4). For type, the rank order was: emotional, informational,
instrumental, and, appraisal (see Table 5).
The Importance and Frequency scales were further analyzed with Pearson correlations for
both sources and types of support. For example, parent support from the Importance scale was
correlated with parent support from the Frequency scale for males and females. All 10
correlations were significant at the .01 level (2- tailed) with an average correlation of .56 (see
Table 6). Correlations ranged from medium to medium high. Likewise, as an example of
support types, emotional support from the Frequency scale was correlated with emotional
support from the Importance scale for males and females. All 8 correlations were significant at
the .01 level (2- tailed) with an average correlation of .64 (see Table 7). Correlations ranged from
medium to high further supporting the idea to collapse the two scales into one.
Since the types and sources of support from the Frequency and Importance scale were
ranked identically, and were significantly correlated, only one scale was used in further
calculations. The Frequency scale was maintained simply because it had a wider range
containing 6 options ranging from 1-6 as compared to the Importance scale containing 3 options
ranging from 1-3. In addition, the Frequency scale, source and type, was completed by more
students (M = 455 students), in comparison to the Importance scale, source and type (M = 433
students).
52


Analyses of Hypotheses
Because of the high correlation between the Frequency and Importance scales and the
resulted decision to use only the Frequency as a dependent variable, hypotheses 2, 4 and 6 were
not examined.
Hypotheses 1: Partially Supported
What source of support (parent, teacher, classmate, close friend, or school) is perceived
most frequently? It was predicted the close friend and classmate support would be the most
frequent source of support perceived by adolescents. This prediction was based on the research
from Malecki and Elliot (1999). Descriptive statistics indicated that close friend support was
perceived the most frequent for all students (see Table 4). However, for the high school
adolescents, teacher support was next in frequency followed by parent support. Classmate
support was fourth in frequency followed only by school support (see Table 4).
Hypotheses 3: Supported
What type of support (emotional, informational, appraisal, or instrumental) is perceived
most frequently? It was predicted that emotional support would be perceived to be the most
frequent type of support. This prediction was based on the research from Malecki and Demaray
(2003). Descriptive statistics indicated that emotional support was perceived the most frequent
(see Table 5).
Hypotheses 5: Partially Supported
What type of support (emotional, informational, appraisal, or instrumental) do the
students most frequently perceive from within each source of support (parent, teacher, classmate
close friend, and school)? It was predicted that different types of support would be perceived
more frequently from certain sources; from parents, emotional and informational support would
53


be perceived most frequently; from teachers, informational support; from classmates and close
friends, emotional support. No prediction was made on the type of support most frequently
perceived from the school due to lack of data on this scale. These predictions were based on the
research from Malecki and Demaray (2003).
To analyze the data for this hypothesis the Friedman and paired t tests were used. First,
Freidman analyses, using Chi-square tests, were performed indicating that there were
quantitative differences between the types of support, found within each source of support (i.e.
parent emotional support, parent informational support, parent appraisal support, and, parent
instructional support). The results indicated a significant difference existed for all sources
(parent, teacher, classmate, close friend, and, school) (see Table 8). In addition, the Friedman
placed the support types, within one support source, in a rank order (Table 9). Ten Friedman
Chi-square analyses were performed allowing for separate comparisons for both males and
females.
The Friedman analyses results for males supported the hypothesis and were as follows:
from parents, emotional and informational supports were the most frequent; from teachers,
informational support was the most frequent; from classmates and close friends, emotional
support was the most frequent (see Table 9). Partially supporting the hypothesis, females
perceived the following: from parents and teachers, informational support was the most frequent;
from classmates and close friends, emotional support was the most frequent.
No hypothesis was made regarding the types of school support. Results indicated that
males most frequently perceived emotional support and females most frequently perceived
informational support from the school (see Table 9).
54


Paired t tests were used to see if the differences (found in the ranks of the Friedman
analyses) were statistically significant. Was there a statistical difference between the rank of 1
and 2 or between 2 and 3 within each source? Thirty comparisons were analyzed for males and
for females. For the females 23 out of a possible 30 were statically significant (see Table 10),
and for the males, 22 of 30 were statically significant (see Table 11). These results indicate that
over half of the ranks, results of the Friedman analysis, were statistically different from each
other, supporting the hypothesis that different types of support were perceived more frequently
from certain sources.
Hypothesis 7
Are certain types of social support, (emotional, informational, appraisal, or instrumental)
related to students academic indicators of GPA, attendance, extra curricular participation,
behavior, and school satisfaction? No predictions were made based on the type of support. Forty
Pearson correlations were performed to answer this question, correlating each dependent variable
(grade point average, behavior, attendance, extracurricular activities, and, satisfaction) with each
support type (emotional, informational, appraisal, and instrumental) Descriptive statistics can be
found in Table 12, and Pearson correlations are located in Table 13 and summarized in Table
13a.
School behavior and school satisfaction were significantly correlated with all types of
support (emotional, informational appraisal, and instrumental) for both males and females, and
were significant at the p <.01 level. The correlations were positive, as support increased, good
behavior and satisfaction increased. The correlational average for satisfaction was medium, .423
for males and females combined, and the average correlation for behavior was low, .240 for
males and females combined.
55


School attendance was negatively correlated with the types of social support, indicating
that as support increased, absences decreased. Attendance significantly correlated with
emotional and informational support for males and with appraisal support for females. All three
correlations were low, with an average of -.152, significant at the p < .05 level.
Grade point average (GPA) correlations were positive, as support increased, the students
GPA tended to increase. GPA was significantly correlated with females emotional, appraisal,
and instrumental types of support. The three correlations were low, with an average of .152. No
support types correlated with GPA for the males.
Unfortunately, the data for extracurricular activities were discarded for two reasons.
First, hind sight indicated that it was inappropriately collected and tabulated. The test item
focused on quantity, thus a membership in a club, that met three times a year, was given the
same value as a membership on a sport team, that practiced five days a week, possibly for
several months. Secondly, variability was low. Of the 165 students who participated in
extracurricular activities, 72% participated in 2.5 activities or less. Low variability was evident
with an ocular inspection of the data in a graph format (see Graph 1). Thus, the variable of extra
curricular participation was removed from further calculations.
Hypothesis 8. Partially Supported
Are certain sources of support (parent, teacher, close friend, classmate, or school) related
to students academic indicators of GPA, attendance, behavior, and school satisfaction? It was
predicted that certain sources of support would impact students out come variables: GPA would
be effected by teacher support (Pianta et. al, 1989; Karam, 2006), attendance would be effected
by parent support (Suldo & Huebner, 2005) and teacher support (Karam, 2006), behavior would
be effected by parent support (Nolton 1994; Foreman, 1988), and school satisfaction would be
56


effected by teacher and classmate support (Suldo & Huebner, 2005). Thirty-two Pearson
correlations were performed to answer this question, correlating each dependent variable with
each support source (parent, teacher, classmate, close friend and school). Descriptive statistics
can be found in Table 12, and Pearson correlations are located in Table 13 and summarized in
Table 13b.
School satisfaction was significantly correlated with all sources of support (parent,
teacher, classmate, close friend and school) for both males and females, and school behavior was
significantly correlated with all sources of support except classmate support for females. For
males and females, the correlational average for satisfaction and behavior were low, .340 and
.193 respectively.
Attendance and GPA significantly correlated with parent support for both males and
females; as support increased, absences decreased, and GPA increased. The correlations were
low, and at the p < .01 level. The average significant correlations for attendance and GPA were
.182, and .245 respectively.
Hypothesis 9: Partially Supported
Are certain types of social support, (emotional, informational, appraisal, or instrumental)
from specific sources (parent, teacher, close friend, classmate, or school) related to students
academic indicators of GPA, attendance, behavior, and school satisfaction? In general, it was
predicted that certain types of support from specific sources would have an impact on various
outcome variables. In specific, teacher emotional support would effect academic success
(Malecki and Demaray, 2003), and school satisfaction (Karam, 2006).
Pearson correlations and linear regression analyses were used to test this hypothesis.
First, eighty separate correlations were calculated for males (see Table 14) and for females (see
57


Table 15). For the males, parent appraisal support had the highest correlation with GPA and
parent informational support had the highest correlation with attendance, while teacher emotional
support had the highest correlation to behavior and satisfaction (see summary Table 16). For the
females, parent instrumental support had the highest correlations with GPA and attendance,
while teacher emotional support had the highest correlations with behavior and classmate
emotional support had the highest correlation with satisfaction (see summary Table 16).
Next, linear regression analyses were calculated for all students to assess the
predictability of the academic indicators based on the support received (see Table 17). Only the
results where social support had a statistically significant impact on a variable will be reported
(all results, including non significant ones, were included in Table 17). The R squares provided
information on the percentage of variation, in each dependent variable, in relation to the source
of support. The standardized betas provided detailed information on each type of support,
holding constant the other types of support within the same source. The results of the regression
analyses indicated that various supports were predictors of the indicators of academic success.
Parent support was a statistically significant predictor of all the dependent variables.
Results were as follows: for GPA R square = .07; for attendance R square = .043; for behavior R
square = .078; and for satisfaction R square = .12. All R square results were significant at the p
<.01 level. The standardized betas provided detailed information on each type of parent support,
holding constant the other types of parent support. The betas for parent support were as follows:
for GPA, parent appraisal beta = .179, p <.05 and parent instrumental beta = .170, p <.05; for
behavior, parent appraisal beta = .249, p <.01; for satisfaction, parent emotional beta = .238, p
<.01. No specific type of parent support had a significant impact on attendance.
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Teacher support was a statistically significant predictor of all of the dependent variables.
Results were as follows: for GPA R square = .037; for attendance R square = .025; for behavior
R square = .095; and for satisfaction R square = .149. All R square results were significant at the
p <.01 level. The standardized beta scores provided detailed information on each type of teacher
support, holding constant the other types of teacher support. The betas for teacher support were
as follows: for GPA, teacher emotional support beta = .263, for attendance teacher emotional
support beta = -.209, for satisfaction, teacher emotional support beta = .245. For behavior, two
types of teacher support were significant predictors: teacher emotional support beta = .317 and
teacher appraisal beta = -.236. All betas were significant at the p <.01 level.
Classmate support was a statistically significant predictor of two variables, behavior and
satisfaction. For behavior, R square = .036, p <.01, and for satisfaction, R square = .169, p <.01.
The standardized beta scores provided detailed information on each type of classmate support,
holding constant the other types of classmate support. For behavior, classmate appraisal support
was significant, beta = .203, p < .01. For satisfaction two types of support were significant:
classmate emotional support, beta = .270, p <.01 and classmate instrumental, beta = .155, p <.05.
Close friend support was a statistically significant predictor of two variables, similar to
classmate support, predicting behavior and satisfaction. For behavior, R square = .029, p <.01
and for satisfaction, R square = .072, p <.01. The standardized beta scores provided detailed
information on each type of close friend support, holding constant the other types of close friend
support. While no specific type of close friend support had a significant impact on behavior,
close friend emotional support had an impact on satisfaction, beta = .310, p <.01.
Finally, school support was a statistically significant predictor of attendance, behavior
and satisfaction. For attendance, R square = .029; for behavior, R square = .060; for satisfaction,
59


R square = .134. All R squares were significant at the p <.01 level. The betas provided detailed
information on each type of school support, holding constant the other types of school support.
For attendance, school appraisal and school instrumental support were significant, beta = -.257
and .255 respectively. For behavior, both school informational and school instrumental support
were significant, beta = .283 and beta = -.253, respectively. For satisfaction, school emotional
support was significant, beta = .293. All betas were significant at the p <.01 level.
Summary of the Results
The preliminary analysis indicated two changes were necessary. First, the students
grade levels were eliminated as a variable based on the results of a One Way ANOVA. It
appeared that differences among grade levels from 9
th
grade students to 12
th
grade students were
statistically negligible in relationship to the types and sources of support studied in this research
project. In contrast, independent t tests indicated that the students gender was considered to be a
statistically significant variable in relation to types and sources of support. Males and females
differed in their perception of social support, and in the impact support had on them.
Second, the Frequency and Importance Scales were analyzed, resulting in the elimination
of the Importance Scale. Both descriptive statistics, through the use of rank, and statistically
significant correlations, focusing on the similarities of the two scales, resulted in the decision that
the two scales were highly overlapping and that including both in the analyses would be
redundant. The Frequency Scale was maintained because it had a wider range containing more
options compared to the Importance Scale and it was completed by more students. This decision
resulted in the elimination of hypothesis, 2, 4, and, 6, that focused on the Importance Scale.
Summaries, from the analysis of the hypotheses are presented next. First, according to
descriptive statistics, the most frequently perceived source of support was close friend, and the
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most frequently perceived type of support was emotional. After close friend support, and in
descending order, were; teacher, parent, classmate and school. After emotional support, and in
descending order were; informational, instrumental, and appraisal.
The Friedman and Paired t tests indicated that various sources of support (parent, teacher,
classmate, close friend, and school) provided certain types of support (emotional, informational,
appraisal, and instrumental) more often. Females perceived the following most frequently: from
classmates and close friends they received emotional support; from parents, teachers, and the
school, informational support. Males perceived the following most frequently: from classmates,
close friends, and the school they received emotional support; from teachers, informational
support. Equally frequent, from parents, males received emotional and informational support.
The impact of the types of support (emotional, informational, appraisal, and instrumental)
and the sources of support (parent, teacher, classmate, close friend, and school) on GPA,
attendance, behavior and satisfaction, was assessed by Pearson correlations. The dependent
variable of extra curricular activities was omitted due to a poor data collection method, and to
low variability with the results. For males, the most significant correlations came from two
sources of support: parent support with GPA, attendance, and behavior; teacher support with
satisfaction. In addition, for males the most significant correlations with the types of support
were: emotional support with behavior and satisfaction; informational support with attendance;
no type of support significantly correlated with GPA. For females the most significant
correlations came from two sources of support: parent support with GPA, attendance, and
behavior; classmate support with satisfaction. The most significant correlations, with the types
of support, for females were: instrumental support with GPA and behavior; appraisal support
with attendance; emotional support with satisfaction.
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Pearson correlations were performed in order to analyze the impact of the types of
support from various sources. For males, the most significant correlations were: parent appraisal
and parent informational support with GPA and attendance respectively, and teacher emotional
support with both behavior and satisfaction. For females, the most significant correlations were;
parent instrumental support with GPA and attendance, teacher emotional and classmate
emotional support with behavior and satisfaction respectively.
Finally, linear regression analyses indicated that certain types of support from specific
sources were statistically significant predictors of GPA, attendance, behavior and satisfaction.
The strongest predictor was teacher emotional support, and the dependent variables most
influenced by social support were student behavior and school satisfaction. The regression
analysis supported the findings of the Pearson correlations regarding the strength of parent and
teacher support for the high school adolescent.
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Chapter V
Discussion
Introduction
The purpose of this study was to analyze the impact of a social support network on the
academic success of the high school adolescent. Academic success in high school is crucial and
can be measured through a variety of indicators. This study considered GPA, attendance,
behavior in school, satisfaction with school, and participation in school related activities as
indicators of academic success, and utilized them as dependent variables. How does social
support impact these indicators of success?
The construct of support, utilized for this study, was originated by Tardy (1985) and
utilized by Nolton (1994) and Malecki and Demaray (2003). They viewed social support as a
multifaceted construct composed of multiple sources of support and various types of support.
The sources of support in this study were parents, teachers, classmates, close friends, and,
school, and the types of support were emotional, informational, appraisal, and, instrumental.
These specific aspects of support enable a thorough understanding of the construct and greater
detail of its impact.
It was hypothesized that for high school students, the provision of different types of
support, from different sources of support, would positively impact various academic indicators
of success. The participants were from a public high school in Western New York, with a school
population of 750 students from grades nine to twelve. School demographics were as follows;
96 % white, .9% black, 1.0% Hispanic and 1.4% Asian. All participants were a sample of
convenience and volunteers in the study. Passive parental consent was obtained from the
guardians. Not included in the study were 72 students who were absent, 17 self-contained
63


special education students, and 190 students who chose not to participate. A total of 471
questionnaires were analyzed in this study, 243 females 214 males and 14 who did not indicate
their gender. The later 14 were used in the analysis of hypotheses 1 and 3, where gender was not
a variable, and removed from the analysis of the remaining hypothesis where it was considered.
The student breakdown included 134 in grade nine, 107 in grade ten, 127 in grade eleven and
103 in grade twelve.
The data were collected through the use of two questionnaires, the Child and Adolescent
Social Support Scale (CASSS) (Malecki and Demaray, 2003) and a demographic questionnaire
(Appendix C and D). The CASSS was composed of 60 declarative sentences that were divided
into five subscales, indicating the various sources of support (parent, teacher, classmate, close
friend, and school). Within each subscale, there were three questions that reflected each type of
support (emotional, informational, appraisal, and instrumental) thus each subscale contained 12
statements. The sources of support, indicated by the subscales, were evident to the students
however, the types of support were not indicated on the questionnaire. Participants were
instructed to mark two responses for each statement, one indicating the frequency, the second
indicating the importance of the support. The CASSS gathered information on the independent
variables of support source (parent, teacher, classmate, close friend, and school) and support type
(emotional, informational, appraisal, and instructional).
The demographic questionnaire was composed of six items utilizing a Likert scale, or a
fill in the blank question. The questionnaire gathered information on the dependent variables:
the students GPA, behavior, attendance, school satisfaction, and participation in extracurricular
activities. The students gender and grade level were requested on a coversheet that accompanied
64


the questionnaire packet. No names were required on either the CASSS or the demographic
questionnaire, thus the method of collection was a self report from the students perspective.
The packets were distributed in an extended homeroom period by the homeroom
teachers. The primary researcher spoke to the students from the media center, giving instructions
to them via classroom television monitors. Students had approximately 30 minutes to complete
the forms. Afterward, homeroom teachers returned the forms to the guidance department by the
end of the school day.
All data were entered into an excel program by three people, allowing for a built in
checking procedure for data entry, and transferred to the SPSS program where the subscale
variables were computed allowing for the statistical analysis of the information. Preliminary
analysis of the data led to the removal of the Importance Scale from the CASSS, the variable of
grade level, and, the dependent variable of participation in extracurricular activities. The
elimination of the Importance Scale resulted in the elimination of hypothesis 2, 4, and, 6 which
focused on the students perception of the importance of social support.
Summary and Conclusion
First, a general look at the results of the preliminary analysis will be reviewed including
the frequency of support compared to the importance of support and the impact of the variables
of age and gender. Second, the types of support will be discussed, followed by an examination
of the various sources of support and how they, independent of each other, impact the academic
variables of success. Third, the discussion will focus on how various types of support from
specific sources have an impact on the academic indicators of success, and predict academic
success. The results are mixed. In some instances, results of the current study supports findings
65


of previous research, while some conclusions from the data pose contradictions to the extant
research. Finally limitations and suggestions for future research will be presented.
Importance versus Frequency
The critical role of importance versus frequency of support was a focus of several studies
(Demaray and Elliott, 2001; Demaray, 2003; Malecki and Elloitt, 1999). The current study
found statistically insignificant evidence indicating a difference in the measurements of
frequency of support versus the importance of support. The frequency of support and the
importance of support exhibited identical patterns in ranking the sources of support (close friend,
teacher, parent, classmate, school ) and types of support (emotional, informational, appraisal, and
instrumental), and both constructs (importance and frequency of support) were significantly
correlated with each other. These findings support the research of Malecki and Elloitt (1999),
whose subjects were students in grades 7 through 12. Their results indicated that frequency
scores moderately correlated with importance scores of support. Though significantly correlated,
Malecki and Elloitt did consider them to be two distinct aspects of the construct of support.
In contrast to the findings of this study, the studies of Demaray and Elliott (2001) and
Demaray (2003) indicated differences between the frequency of support and importance of
support. Demaray et al., (2001) compared the two constructs while studying boys diagnosed
with ADHD. Results indicated the ADHD subjects received less support (frequency) than a
control group, however both groups considered it to be equally important. Demaray (2003)
categorized middle school subjects as bullies, victims, victim/bullies, or placed into a control
group. Of the 499 subjects, the control group received the greatest amount of support
(frequency) however, support was considered to be the most important by the victim and
victim/bullies.
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A critical difference in comparing the four studies was the pool of subjects. In the
current study, and the study of Malecki and Elloitt (1999), no particular population was
identified, unlike the targeted groups of the Demaray et. al, (2001) and Demaray (2003) studies.
Thus, the current research supports the theory that subjects, of a target or homogeneous group
(i.e. bullies), rate frequency and importance differently, while students of a broad heterogeneous
sample rate frequency and importance of support similarly. These findings might suggest that
when the sample of subjects is composed of a non targeted sample of adolescent high school
students, the difference between frequency and importance of support types and sources is
negligible, however, when the comparison is made with a targeted sample of adolescents,
compared to a control group, a difference exists between frequency and importance.
Age and Gender Differences
The current study found gender to be a variable having an impact on the perception of
perceived social support. Females reported receiving more social support than boys from all the
sources of support and for all types of support (see Table 12). This supports the research of
Malecki and Demaray (2002), Demaray and Malecki (2003), Jackson and Warren, (2000) and
Nolton (1994), who reported that females received more social support than males.
The current study did not find a developmental difference on the perception of social
support. The sample contained adolescents from grades 9 to 12 who were predominantly 14 to18
years of age, covering a four year span. The sources of support (parents, teachers, classmates
and close friends) did not appear to vary in the support they provided for these adolescents. Like
wise, types of support (emotional, informational, appraisal, or instructional) did not seem to vary.
Other studies found a developmental impact on the perception of social support (Nolton,
1994; Malecki and Demaray, 2002; Demaray and Malecki 2003). In general, their findings
67


indicated social support, predominantly from adults, decreased with age. Younger children had
more support than older children, especially from parents and teachers. The difference was
observed however, when comparing the children over a greater span of developmental time, not
within the high school age range itself. Elementary children perceived more support than middle
school children, and middle school children perceived more total support than the high school
children.
Furthermore, Demaray and Maleckis (2003) findings indicated an interaction affect
between age and gender. Gender differences were not observed in the elementary or middle
school. However, at the high school age level, gender became an influential variable, indicating
girls perceived support more frequently and considered it to be important than boys.
In summary, the findings from the current study appear to be supported by extant
research: at the high school level, females perceive more social support than males, and the
perception of social support appears to remain consistent for adolescents within grades nine to
twelve. Regarding the variable of gender, these combined results might suggest that for the high
school adolescent, boys do receive less support than girls, or that girls are better at recognizing
support that is offered to them. Either way, considering the proven benefits of social support, in
either the buffering or main effect model, female adolescents appear to be at an advantage.
Females may be reaping the psychological and physical benefits of social support over males. In
contrast, adolescent males may be at a greater risk, as they face challenges in their lives, without
the support system afforded to females. Regarding the variable of age, these findings suggest
that high school adolescents perceive the same amount, and similar types of social support.
Freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors equally share the advantages provided from a social
support system.
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Types of Support
The type of support studied in an investigation of social support has been historically
overlooked (Malecki et al., 2003), however the current study has taken this variable into account.
It found the most to least frequently perceived types of support were; emotional, informational,
instrumental, and appraisal support (Table 5). However, the order of support, listed by
frequency, is different from the order of support listed by the impact they had on the indicator
variables. The support types, listed from most to least influential (strength of correlation) on the
dependent variables were; emotional, instrumental, informational, and appraisal (Tables 13 and
13a). They are further discussed in order of perceived frequency.
Emotional Support. Emotional support was exemplified by words and behaviors that
reflected feelings of love, caring, empathy, compassion, and by words and behaviors that
encouraged the development of trust. By both males and females, emotional support was
perceived most frequently and had the strongest correlation with the indicator variables.
Compared to the other support types, it had the strongest correlation with satisfaction for females
and satisfaction and good behavior for males. As emotional support increased, school
satisfaction for both genders increased and good behavior for males increased. Though it was
not the support type with the strongest correlation to attendance, GPA, or female behavior, it did
have a significant correlation with them. For males, it was related to improved attendance and
for females it was related to improved GPA, and behavior. Altogether, emotional support had a
significant impact on every indicator variable.
Surprisingly, emotional support had a statistically stronger impact for males than females.
Traditionally, females are viewed to be more emotional than males however, this study indicated
69


that the male students were more sensitive to emotional support particularly in terms of their
school behavior and school satisfaction (Table 13a).
Informational Support. Informational support was exemplified through giving advice,
and instruction. It was perceived as the second most frequent support type. Though it was given
relatively frequently, it did not have much of an impact on the outcome variables in terms of its
correlational strength. However, compared to the other support types, informational support had
the strongest correlation with attendance, for males (Table 13a). As informational support
increased, absences for male students decreased. Though it was not the support type with the
strongest correlation to behavior or satisfaction, it did have a significant impact on them for both
males and females. Altogether, informational support had a weak but significant impact on three
of the four variables (Table 13).
Instrumental Support. Instrumental support was reflected through helping behaviors as
offering of ones time, skills, or finances to a person in need. Though it was the third most
frequent support type, it did have a significant impact on several variables. Compared to the
other support types, instrumental support had the strongest correlation with female GPA and
female behavior (Table 13a). As instrumental support increased, female students GPA
increased, and their behavior improved. Though it was not the support type with the strongest
correlation to male satisfaction or male behavior, it did have a statistically significant impact on
them. Overall, instrumental support had more impact on females than males and it had a
significant impact on three of the four variables, all at the p<.01 significance level (Table 13).
Appraisal Support. Appraisal support was the offering of evaluative feedback. It was
perceived the least frequent of the four, and it had the lowest statistical significance with
academic success. However, compared to the other support types, appraisal support had the
70


strongest correlation with attendance for females, as it increased, absences decreased (Table13a).
Though it was not the support type with the strongest correlation to behavior, satisfaction, or
GPA, it did have a statistically significant impact on them. For females, in addition to
attendance, it was also related to GPA, behavior, and satisfaction, and for males it was related to
behavior and satisfaction (Table 13). Thus appraisal support had a greater impact on females
than males.
Regarding prior research, Cheng (1998) looked at support types using the buffering
model of support. He assessed the impact of support types on depression for males and females.
His findings have similarities and discrepancies with the findings of the current study. Cheng
found instrumental support helped males while socioemotional support helped females, where as
the current study, using a main effect model, found the opposite. In this study, emotional support
had the greatest impact on males and instrumental support had the greatest impact on females.
Regardless of the gender variable, both studies acknowledge the powerful impact of emotional
and instrumental support above other support types.
Summary for Types of Support. Though gender differences can be seen, it is apparent
that all types of social support are valuable and possess the ability to impact academic success.
When assessing impact on the dependent variables, females were more sensitive to instrumental
and appraisal support, where as males were more sensitive to emotional and informational
support. Though females may perceive more support than males (frequency), it appears they are
not receiving the type of support that would have the greatest impact on their academic success.
For example, more instrumental support may improve their GPA. Perhaps giving of ones time
and skills is more difficult, and requires more effort, and sacrifice from the giver than the caring
words of emotional or appraisal support. Though males perceive less support overall
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(frequency), they may benefit more because emotional support, the type of support having the
greatest impact on their behavior and satisfaction, is most frequently given. Unfortunately for
male students, no support type had a statistically significant impact on GPA or perhaps the
critical level of support had not been reached.
Sources of Support
In the current study, the sources of support, listed from most to least frequently
perceived by the high school adolescent were; close friend, teacher, parent, classmate, and the
school (Table 4). Surprisingly the sources of support, listed from most to least influential
(strength of correlation) on the dependent variables of GPA, attendance, behavior, and
satisfaction were; parent, followed equally by teacher and classmate, and finally school and close
friend support (Tables 13 and 13b). They are further discussed by order of their effect on the
dependent variables.
Parent Support. It is customary that as children develop into adolescents, they turn away
from parental support, at times even rebelling against parental involvement, as they turn towards
support from friends (OKoon, 1997). However, the current study indicates that parent support
far out weighs the value of all other sources of support, including peers, as it relates to the
academic indicators of success. Compared to other support sources, parent support had the
primary correlation with three of the four variables, GPA, attendance, and behavior for both
males and females (Table 13b). Though it was not the support source with the strongest
correlation to satisfaction it did have a statistically significant correlation with satisfaction, thus
parent support had an impact on all four variables for both genders (Table 13).
The importance of parental support acknowledged in this study, is seen in the research of
others (Nolton, 1994; Foreman, 1988; Karam, 2006; Suldo et al., 2005; OKoon, 1997; American
72


Psychological Association, 2002; Nolton, Gambone et al., 2002; Hillaker, 2004). Parents need to
keep in mind that an increase in peer contact and a decline in parental contact by their adolescent
is not an indication that parents are less important, or less influential. The parentchild
relationship needs to be restructured as the child develops into an adolescent, however these ties
should not be severed (Brook et al., 2000). This study supports the premise that parental support
is crucial for the continued development and school success of the adolescent. It is a mistake for
parents not to remain supportive and actively involved in the life of their adolescent, equally for
males and females.
Teacher and Classmate Support. In the current study, teacher and classmate support
were the sources of support with the greatest impact on school satisfaction, specifically, teacher
support had the primary correlation with satisfaction for males, while classmate support had the
primary correlation with satisfaction for females (Table 13b). This finding is logical, since these
two sources of support are the main forms of social contact in the school setting. Though teacher
support did not have the strongest correlation with behavior, it had a statistically significant
impact on behavior for both males and females, and classmate support had a statistically
significant impact on behavior for males (Table 13). Thus both teacher and classmate support
had a significant impact on two of the four variables.
In relation to extant research on classmate and teacher support, the current study supports
their findings. Foreman (1988) found classmate support to have an impact on self worth, athletic
competence, physical appearance and scholastic achievement for elementary school students.
Suldo et al., (2005) found that classmate support was related to high life satisfaction. East et al.,
(1978) indicated that peer support was related to higher academics, good conduct, high self
worth, and fewer adjustment problems. Regarding the importance of teacher support, Pianta et
73


al., (1989) found teacher support to have an impact on academic success and behavior for
kindergarten students, and Karam (2006) found teacher support to have a positive impact on
academic engagement and achievement for middle school students. All of the studies found
classmate and teacher support to be an asset, in varying degrees, to students in school.
School Support. School support was not the primary form of support for any of the
indicator variables. It did however have a significant impact on both behavior and school
satisfaction for both males and females. Though school support was perceived the least frequent,
it had stronger correlations to the dependent variables than close friend support, the source
perceived most frequently.
Close Friend Support. Close friend support was the most frequent source of support
perceived by the high school student (Table 4). Surprisingly, compared to other sources, close
friend support did not have a primary correlation with any of the variables, though it was
significantly correlated with behavior and satisfaction (Table 13 and 13b). These findings
support the research of others before it. Several researchers (Malecki & Demaray, 2003; Nolton,
1994; Malecki & Elliott, 1999) found close friend support as the most important source of
support, while Foremans (1988) and Melecki et. al, (2003) indicated that close friend support
had no predictive or correlational relationship.
Summary for Sources of Support. In summary, all types of support as well as all sources
of support offer some statistically proven benefit. Though adolescents value and receive friend
support most frequently, contributing to their social development, parental support has more
potential to contribute to their academic success. Parental support had the primary correlation
with three of the four indicators of success for both males and females. Adolescents may be
suffering academically by the relative lack of parent support given.
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In terms of the dependent variables, behavior and satisfaction were the academic
indicators affected most by the sources of support, and the types of support (Table 13). They
were statistically affected by all four support types (emotional, informational, appraisal, and
instrumental) for both genders, at the significance level of p <.01. Satisfaction was affected by
all sources (parent, teacher, classmate, close friend, and school) of support for males and females
at the significance level of p <.01, and behavior was affected by all source of support (except for
classmate support for females), predominantly at the significance level of p<.01. Overall,
satisfaction had the strongest correlations followed by behavior.
Social Support - Source &Type Together
This study has addressed the benefits of various types of support and the benefits of
various sources of support separately. However, further questions remain. Should certain
people, in an adolescents life, focus on providing specific types of support compared to others?
What type of support from a particular individual would have the greatest impact on a students
ability to be successful in school? Further discussion will focus on the benefits of types of
support from specific sources of support (Tables 14, 15, and 16). In addition, the information
from the Importance Scale (Table 3a) focusing on the importance of social support will be
utilized.
GPA and Social Support. For males and females, GPA was significantly correlated with
all support types from parents and one support type from teachers; parent emotional, parent
informational, parent instrumental, parent appraisal, and teacher emotional support. For males,
parent appraisal support had the primary influence on GPA, and for females, parent instrumental
support had the primary influence. The more parents gave of their time and skills, the more their
daughters grades improved. The more parents gave evaluative feed back, the more their sons
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GPA improved. In addition, the more teachers showed they cared about their students, the better
their students GPA became. No support from classmates, close friends or the school had any
significant impact on the students GPA.
Attendance and Social Support. Similarly to GPA, the majority of the support impacting
attendance came from parents and teachers with two exceptions for males. For males, three
types of parent support had a significant impact on attendance, emotional, informational and
appraisal. However, parent informational support was the primary form of support impacting
attendance. For females, three types of parent support had a significant impact on attendance,
emotional, appraisal, and instrumental. However, parent instrumental support was the primary
form of support impacting attendance. In addition, attendance was affected by two types of
support from teachers; teacher emotional support for all students and teacher appraisal support
for females. Finally for males, attendance was also affected by classmate appraisal and school
emotional support.
The pattern of emotional support having a greater impact on males continues, where
parent emotional, teacher emotional, and school emotional support had an impact on male
attendance. Likewise, the importance of instrumental and appraisal support for females
continues, where teacher appraisal, parent appraisal, and parent instrumental support had an
impact on female attendance.
Behavior and Social Support. Behavior was primarily affected by teacher emotional
support for all students (Table 16). In general the behavior of male students was more sensitive
to social support than the behavior of female students where 17 of the 20 social supports had an
impact on the males behavior compared to 10 of the 20 social supports that had an impact on the
females behavior (Table 14 and 15). Thus, almost every support type from all support sources
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had an impact on the male students behavior. For females, predominantly support types from
parents and teachers affected their behavior. The pattern of emotional support having a greater
impact on males continues, where parent emotional, teacher emotional, and school emotional
support were the types from each source having strong correlations with the behavior for male
students.
Satisfaction and Social Support. Amongst the 80 correlations, satisfaction was the
dependent variable having the strongest correlation with all types of support from all sources of
support for all students (except for three instances: females GPA with parent appraisal and
parent instrumental support and females attendance with parent instrumental support). It was
significantly related to all types of support from all of the sources of support at the significance
level of p < .01(Tables 14 and 15). For all the sources of support (parent, teacher, classmate,
close friend, and school), emotional support was the strongest type that correlated to school
satisfaction for males, the primary source being teacher emotional support. For females, the
primary correlation for school satisfaction was classmate emotional support (Table 16).
The Importance of Support
According to the data on the Importance Scale, students rated teacher informational
support as the most important form of support a teacher could provide (Table 3a), a logical
thought considering that to teach means to impart information ( Merriam-Webster Dictionary).
Surprisingly however, teacher emotional support out weighted the impact of the other forms of
teacher support regarding all of the academic indicators, especially for males (Tables 14 and 15).
Regarding GPA, teacher emotional support was the only type of teacher support that had a
statistically significant impact on GPA for all students. The current data indicates that teachers
need to be aware that their words and behaviors, displaying care and concern, may increase the
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GPA of their students more than the information given to them in the classroom lecture. In
addition, their emotional support is the best form of support that teachers can provide to
encourage good classroom behavior, improve class attendance, and contribute to the students
school satisfaction. Students need to know that teachers care about them (Cauce et al., 1982;
Painta et al., 1989; Richmond et al., 1998; Malecki et al, 1999; Malecki, et al., 2002; Malecki, et
al., 2003; Demaray et al., 2003; Karam, 2006).
According to the data on the Importance Scale, the students rated parental emotional
support as the most important form of support that parents could provide (Table 3a). Though
parent emotional support may be very important in many aspects of their lives, it was not the
form of parental support having the most potential to assist them with their academic success.
The data indicates that parents need to provide instrumental, appraisal, and informational support
to help improve GPA and attendance for students. Though parent emotional support is
correlated to all of the dependent variables, ironically, overall parent emotional support was not
the primary form of social support related to the dependent variables (comparing it to other
support types from support sources) (Table 16).
Predictions from Regression Analysis
Researchers often use regression analysis to predict how well students would do in
school, based on various predictors. In the current study, regression was used to identify support
types from support sources that could be considered predictors of academic success (Table 17).
The analyses were performed on the students together, removing the factor of gender. A total of
80 regressions were performed, 16 within each source of support, and a total of 20 sources of
support with the various types of support (i.e. parent emotional) were assessed. All predictions
were based on statistically significant correlations that were low in strength.
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Teacher Support Types. Regarding teachers, results indicated that teacher emotional
support was a predictor for all of the indicators of academic success, GPA, attendance, behavior
and satisfaction with a significance level of p <.01. For GPA and behavior, teacher emotional
support was the strongest predictor compared to the 20 other possible predictors. Teacher
emotional support had the strongest prediction, (for behavior, beta = .317**) compared to the 80
other possible predictions made in this analysis. In addition, teacher appraisal support was also a
predictor variable. It had however, an adverse affect on the students behavior. The data
predicted that the more a teacher used appraisal support, the worst the behavior would become.
Perhaps the evaluative feedback of appraisal support was more critical of bad behavior than
complementary of good behavior. Teachers need to be cognizant of how and when they use
appraisal support, for the consequences could result in positive reactions from the students or
negative reactions, as with student behavior.
Parent Support Types. An analysis of parent support revealed that parent appraisal
support, compared to other forms of parent support, had the strongest predictive abilities
(predicting two of the four possible dependent variables). It predicted student behavior however,
unlike teacher appraisal support, it had a positive affect. The more a parent used appraisal
support, the better the student behaved in school. Perhaps parents used more positive forms of
feedback, or had greater control of rewards and punishments accompanying the evaluative
feedback. An adolescent has more to lose and more to gain from parents (i.e. an ability to drive,
date, socialize, or to gain material possessions) compared to teachers and thus more reason to
respond positively to parent appraisal support.
To a lesser degree, parent appraisal support also predicted student GPA along with parent
instrumental support. Finally, parent emotional support predicted student satisfaction in school,
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though it was not the strongest predictor of satisfaction overall (taking into account the other
sources of social supports).
Classmate Support Types. Regarding classmate support, classmate emotional, classmate
appraisal and classmate instrumental support were predictors of academic success. Classmate
emotional and instrumental support were predictors for satisfaction and classmate appraisal
support was a predictor for behavior at the significance level of p<.01, though they were not the
strongest predictors compared to the other sources of social support. GPA and attendance were
not related to any type of classmate support.
Close Friend Support Types. Close friend support contained the least amount of
predictive abilities with academic success, though it was rated the most frequent and the most
important type of social support for adolescents. Only close friend emotional support had a
predictive ability to an indicator of success, school satisfaction. It was, however the greatest
predictor of school satisfaction compared to the other social supports analyzed. Overall, it had
the second greatest predictive power; Beta = .310** (second to teacher emotional support on
behavior, Beta = .317**).
School Support Types. All types of school support had a predictive ability with at least
one indicator variable. School appraisal support had the strongest predictive ability on
attendance (beta = -.257) compared to the 20 other possible predictors with attendance. As
school appraisal support increased, absences decreased. Attendance was also related to school
instrumental support; surprisingly however, as school instrumental support increased, absences
increased (beta = .255). The more a school gave, in terms of helping behaviors, the more the
absences grew in number. Perhaps the school needs to adhere to a strict attendance policy and be
80


less lenient when allowing excuses for students with chronic attendance problems. For them,
schools may need to give less, expect and demand more.
The same seemingly converse predictive relationship existed with school instrumental
support and behavior (beta = -.253**), the more a school offered helping behaviors the worst the
students behaved. Again, perhaps it is the schools role to offer less help, allow for fewer
excuses and demand more of students with chronic problem behaviors. Each source of support
plays a different role for the student, apparently the school support network needs to be firm on
its behavior and attendance policies in order to assistant students obtain success.
Compared to other types of school support, school emotional support had the strongest
predictive ability and compared to the 20 other social supports, it was the second strongest
predictor of school satisfaction (beta = .293**). The greater the atmosphere of caring, from the
school community, the greater the satisfaction for the students.
Extant Research on Predictions. Few researchers focused on assessing support types
from support sources and the impact on academic success, except for Malecki and Demaray,
(2003) and Karam (2006). Though the samples differ, middle school students compared to the
current study of high school students, some findings were the same. The current study was an
extension of the Malecki et al., (2003) study that looked at similar sources (less school support)
and types of support. Regardless of the grade level difference, a similarity between the two
studies was the students ratings of the types of support from the sources of support, where the
most important were; parent emotional, teacher informational, classmate emotional, and close
friend emotional. In addition, both studies found teacher emotional support was a predictor of
academic competence.
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There were contradictions with the Malecki et al., (2003) study as well. This study found
that all sources of support (parent, teacher, classmate, close friend and school), depending on the
type of support used (emotional, informational appraisal, or instructional), had some predictive
abilities. Malecki et al., found no predictive abilities for parent, classmate or friend support,
regardless of the type of support offered. This is a critical difference in that the current findings
possess a more positive outlook indicating that there are more possibilities, more opportunities
for social support to assist adolescents in school.
Karam (2006) focused on the support types offered by teachers and how they had an
impact on indicators of academic success. She found that teacher emotional support was linked
to life satisfaction, teacher mastery learning approach was linked to attendance, and teacher
overall support was linked to school engagement and achievement. The current study focused on
several different aspects of success however, both studies found that teacher emotional support
correlated with satisfaction and that overall teacher support had a significant correlation with
academic success.
Summary of Social Support - Source &Type Together. In summary teacher emotional
support is the most important form of support a teacher can offer, impacting and having the
ability to predict GPA, attendance, behavior, and satisfaction. Unfortunately it is not the form of
support that is most frequently offered. On the contrary, parents who predominantly offered
emotional support, need to be aware that their appraisal and instrumental support has a greater
correlation with their adolescents academic success (GPA, attendance, and behavior). In
addition, parent appraisal, and parent instrumental support can predict GPA and behavior.
Support from close friends, containing the most value for the adolescent, has far less value
regarding its ability to impact academic success, though support from close friends and
82


classmates has strong ability to predict school satisfaction. Last of all, school support needs to
reflect a firm stance on attendance and behavior problems and a yet caring nature in general to
foster satisfaction.
Limitations and Future Research
Although the current study provides evidence that there is a correlational relationship
between adolescents social support network and important academic outcomes, it is incorrect to
assume a causal relationship and premature to claim that a particular level of social support can
predict those outcomes. Further research is necessary to contribute additional supportive data
adding to the current research findings. To ensure future findings are accurate, several
adjustments should be noted.
First, this study collected data on the construct of social support through a self-report
questionnaire. Thus it was a mono method, mono operation collection procedure. Collecting
data through a single operation and a single method may cause the construct of interest to be
masked by the measurement method (Meier, 2006). Covert feelings, however, as being cared for
by your teachers and parents, may only be collected through methods of self report (La Greca,
1990). None the less, the accuracy of future research on social support could be enhanced
through the use of additional instruments allowing for the aggregation of data, even if the sources
are additional self report questionnaires. An aggregated score more accurately reflects the
construct of interest, improving reliability and validity by decreasing random measurement errors
(Meier, 2006).
Second, self- report surveys are affected by the subjects response strategies. If subjects
attempt to leave a specific impression, social desirability would impact their responses to the test
items (Meier, 2006). Subjects are often inclined to present a positive image. This may have
83


occurred regarding the dependent variable of GPA. Since the survey was anonymous, individual
GPAs could not be compared however, there was a possible discrepancy between students
reported grades and students actual averages. Student records indicate the actual GPA mean for
the school was 80.02 (N = 715) with numerous students having averages between 40% and 60%
(Histogram 1). In comparison, the self-reported GPA mean for the study sample was 85.82 (N =
454) and few students indicated averages between 50% to 60 % (Histogram 2). One of two
possibilities may have occurred: students were hoping to make a positive impression by
overstating their GPA; or, the 37% of the students in the school who did not participate in the
research project may have had substantially lower grades than students participating in the study.
This later possibility seems somewhat unlikely and thus conclusions about GPA may have to be
considered carefully.
Future research desiring demographic information can be enhanced through the use of
multiple methods other than self reports. The collection of data can be obtained from school
records as student report cards, behavioral referrals, and attendance records thus minimizing the
problems associated with a self-report procedure.
Third, the current study was performed as a single administration allowing for the
negative impact of affective mismatches, cognitive mismatches, and mismatches resulting from
environmental factors (Meier, 2006). For example, during the testing subjects may suffer from
personal problems or they may not be able to understand the directions given or they may feel
uncomfortable with teachers monitoring them and collecting the questionnaires. These
mismatches can lead to a systemic error (Meier, 2006). In place of a single administration, a
longitudinal research method could be employed. A longitudinal research method would also
facilitate the investigation of predictive relationships (Malecki et al., 2003).
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Fourth, the sample from the current study was limited in grade level, including students
only from grades 9 to 12. Clear developmental trends have been documented in previous
research studies (Demaray et al., 2002) that are not observable within this range of grade levels.
Future research should expand the pool of subjects and include students from the elementary,
middle, and high school grade levels, allowing the researchers the opportunity to observe the
developmental changes and the diversity of the benefits of social support seen through out these
years.
Finally, the sample from the current study was also limited, composed predominantly of
Caucasian students. A more representative sample would allow for a possibility of
generalizability to the population beyond the school walls.
The results of this study support past research, offer new information, and increase
awareness regarding the benefits of social support utilized by parents, educators, and counseling
professionals. The data suggest that specific supportive behaviors from specific sources as
parents, teachers, classmates, close friends, and the school, can be employed as tools for
academic intervention. These supportive figures can now attempt to provide the necessary types
of support, offering the greatest impact, addressing the academic needs of the adolescent
students. Since a students decision to drop out of school is a cumulative consequence of several
factors including low parent and teacher support, perhaps this study, along with past and future
research on the benefits of social support, will help adolescents to avoid the deleterious
consequences of dropping out of school.
85


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96


Appendix A

Statistic Tables

~








_



97


Table 1. Cronbachs Alpha and Descriptive Statistics for the Test Items for Each Scale of the
CASSS
Scales N N of items Mean Std Deviation Alpha
Parent 442 12 50.73 13.29 .943
Teacher 456 12 53.85 11.71 .939
Classmate 445 12 46.87 13.28 .943
Close Friend 450 12 59.73 11.96 .954
School 442 12 44.21 14.40 .967




Table 2. One Way ANOVA- Comparing the Impact of the Students Grade Level on Their
Perceptions of Support from the Frequency and Importance Scales
Frequency Scale Importance Scale
Source Type F df Sig. F df Sig.
Parent Emotional 1.846 465 .138 1.522 451 .208
Informational .605 464 .612 .732 449 .533
Appraisal 2.403 466 .607 .335 448 .800
Instrumental 1.385 465 .247 1.163 450 .323
Teacher Emotional 1.381 466 .248 1.403 448 .241
Informational .722 464 .536 1.758 448 .155
Appraisal .578 467 .630 .345 447 .793
Instrumental .091 466 .965 .244 447 .866
Classmate Emotional 2.109 466 .098 .211 450 .889
Informational .979 464 .402 .010 441 .999
Appraisal 1.166 466 .322 .221 448 .882
Instrumental 2.995 468 .031* .686 449 .561
Close Friend Emotional .614 466 .606 4.155 451 .006**
Informational .693 467 .590 2.325 452 .074
Appraisal .694 468 .556 2.868 452 .036*
Instrumental .506 468 .678 4.706 454 .003**
School Emotional 1.135 462 .335 2.585 446 .053
Informational .510 461 .676 .444 447 .722
Appraisal .483 460 .694 .262 442 .853
Instrumental .524 463 .666 .621 445 .602


98


Table 3. Independent t - Tests - Comparing the Impact of the Students Gender on Their
Perceptions of Support from the Frequency and Importance Scales
Source of Support Type of Support Frequency Scale Importance Scale
t df Sig. t df Sig.
Parent Emotional .150 450 .881 -5.01 439 .000**
Informational -.318 449 .750 -3.64 437 .000**
Appraisal -.342 451 .732 -2.21 436 .028*
Instrumental -.529 450 .597 -2.67 438 .008**
Teacher Emotional -.506 451 .613 -2.70 436 .007**
Informational -1.03 449 .300 -2.46 436 .014*
Appraisal -2.08 452 .038* -3.29 435 .001**
Instrumental -.702 451 .483 -1.29 435 .196
Classmate Emotional -1.13 451 .257 -1.42 438 .154
Informational -2.19 449 .028* -2.41 432 .016*
Appraisal -1.15 451 .249 -.746 436 .456
Instrumental -.821 453 .412 -1.12 437 .261
Close Friend Emotional -5.57 451 .000** -7.85 439 .000**
Informational -5.56 452 .000** -6.39 440 .000**
Appraisal -3.58 453 .000** -4.10 440 .000**
Instrumental -5.20 453 .000** -5.89 442 .000**
School Emotional -.651 448 .515 -.963 435 .336
Informational -1.36 447 .172 -1.76 436 .087
Appraisal -.996 446 .320 -1.17 431 .240
Instrumental -1.45 449 .885 -.590 434 .555

99


Table 3a. Importance Scale; Descriptive Statistics for the Types of Support from Specific
Sources for Males and Females
Gender Source Type N Mean Std Deviation
Males Parent Emotional 208 6.78 1.81
Informational 206 6.51 1.74
Appraisal 204 6.45 2.72
Instrumental 207 6.34 1.64
Teacher Emotional 203 6.76 1.71
Informational 203 7.02 1.64
Appraisal 202 6.41 1.77
Instrumental 204 6.74 1.73
Classmate Emotional 206 6.42 1.86
Informational 203 6.04 1.86
Appraisal 206 5.87 1.94
Instrumental 207 6.40 1.80
Close Friend Emotional 206 7.19 1.76
Informational 205 6.82 1.84
Appraisal 206 6.72 2.04
Instrumental 207 6.92 1.81
School Emotional 204 6.09 1.95
Informational 206 5.93 1.81
Appraisal 202 5.82 1.84
Instrumental 203 5.71 1.81
Females Parent Emotional 233 7.55 1.39
Informational 233 7.10 1.62
Appraisal 234 6.92 1.64
Instrumental 233 6.85 1.60
Teacher Emotional 235 7.20 1.38
Informational 235 7.38 1.37
Appraisal 235 6.92 1.39
Instrumental 233 6.94 1.44
Classmate Emotional 234 6.65 1.60
Informational 231 6.45 1.61
Appraisal 232 6.00 1.71
Instrumental 232 6.60 1.68
Close Friend Emotional 235 8.29 1.17
Informational 237 7.80 1.36
Appraisal 236 7.44 1.65
Instrumental 237 7.80 1.31
School Emotional 233 6.27 1.80
Informational 232 6.22 1.70
Appraisal 231 6.02 1.69
Instrumental 233 5.81 1.78


100


Table 3b. Frequency Scale; Descriptive Statistics for the Types of Support from Specific
Sources for Males and Females
Gender Source Type N Mean Std
Deviation
Males Parent Emotional 212 13.00 3.78
Informational 211 13.01 3.48
Appraisal 211 12.41 3.45
Instrumental 211 12.14 3.72
Teacher Emotional 212 13.35 3.54
Informational 210 13.95 3.26
Appraisal 212 13.06 3.50
Instrumental 212 12.80 3.57
Classmate Emotional 212 12.36 3.67
Informational 211 11.24 3.90
Appraisal 212 10.26 4.08
Instrumental 213 11.91 3.98
Close Friend Emotional 210 14.41 3.68
Informational 212 13.93 3.79
Appraisal 212 13.70 3.70
Instrumental 212 14.41 3.42
School Emotional 210 11.26 4.03
Informational 211 11.10 4.10
Appraisal 211 10.86 4.11
Instrumental 211 10.55 4.00
Females Parent Emotional 240 12.95 3.69
Informational 240 13.13 3.86
Appraisal 242 12.52 3.89
Instrumental 241 12.33 3.73
teacher Emotional 241 13.51 3.05
Informational 241 14.26 3.06
Appraisal 242 13.70 3.05
Instrumental 241 13.03 3.44
Classmate Emotional 241 12.72 3.07
Informational 240 12.01 3.51
Appraisal 241 10.71 3.91
Instrumental 242 12.22 4.01
Close Friend Emotional 243 16.10 2.60
Informational 242 15.63 2.67
Appraisal 243 14.89 3.13
Instrumental 243 15.91 2.70
School Emotional 240 11.50 3.34
Informational 238 11.60 3.70
Appraisal 237 11.22 3.70
Instrumental 240 10.60 4.10

101


Table 4. Descriptive Statistics Ranking the Sources of Support Perceived by All Students for
Both Frequency and Importance Scales.
Scale Items Source of
Support
N Mean Standard
Deviation
Rank
Position
Frequency Parent 456 50.745 13.32 3
Teacher 458 53.834 11.72 2
Classmate 459 46.736 13.29 4
Close Friend 464 59.599 12.13 1
School 455 43.888 14.53 5

Importance Parent 438 27.223 5.79 3
Teacher 438 27.700 5.44 2
Classmate 436 25.245 6.27 4
Close Friend 446 29.634 6.10 1
School 438 23.805 6.53 5




Table 5. Descriptive Statistics Ranking the Type of Support Perceived by All Students for Both
Frequency and Importance Scales.
Scale Type of
Support
N Mean Standard
Deviation
Rank
Frequency Emotional 454 65.41 12.58 1
Informational 446 64.84 12.98 2
Appraisal 453 61.48 13.14 4
Instrumental 456 62.83 12.90 3

Importance Emotional 430 34.55 6.30 1
Informational 424 33.66 6.26 2
Appraisal 422 32.23 6.67 4
Instrumental 430 32.93 62.9 3



102


Table 6. The Correlation of the Frequency Scale to the Importance Scale for the Sources of
Support
Parent
Importance
Teacher
Importance
Classmate
Importance
Close Friend
Importance
School
Importance
Parent
Frequency
Male = .61**
Female =
.53**

Teacher
Frequency
Male = .50**
Female =
.49**

Classmate
Frequency
Male = .47**
Female =
.52**

Close Friend
Frequency
Male = .60**
Female =
.64**

School
Frequency
Male = .66**
Female =
.57**
** Correlations are significant at the p < 0.01 level (2 tailed)


Table 7. The Correlation of the Frequency Scale to the Importance Scale for the Types of
Support
Emotional
Importance
Informational
Importance
Appraisal
Importance
Instrumental
Importance
Emotional
Frequency
Male = .59**
Female = .52**

Informational
Frequency
Male = .64**
Female = .66**

Appraisal
Frequency
Male = .88**
Female = .57**

Instrumental
Frequency
Male = .62**
Female = .64**
** Correlations are significant at the p < 0.01 level (2 tailed)
103


Table 8. Friedman: Chi Squares Indicate Significant Differences Between the Types of Support
Within Each Source of Support for both Males and Females
Females Males
Source of Support N Chi Square df Sig. N Chi Square df Sig.
Parent 235 25.279 3 .00 207 36.74 3 .000
Teacher 237 48.831 3 .00 207 39.24 3 .000
Classmate 236 108.95 3 .000 209 107.24 3 .000
Close Friend 242 108.55 3 .000 208 30.26 3 .000
School 235 41.58 3 .000 207 18.14 3 .000


Table 9. Friedman: Descriptive Statistics Indicate the Rank of Types of Support Within Each
Source of Support for Males and Females
Female Male
Source of
Support
Type of
Support
N Mean Standard
Deviation
Rank N Mean Standard
Deviation
Rank
Parent Emotional 235 12.97 3.68 2 207 12.97 3.40 1
Informational 13.17 3.84 1 12.97 3.49 1
Appraisal 12.55 3.79 3 12.35 3.45 3
Instrumental 12.34 3.75 4 12.10 3.74 4

Teacher Emotional 237 13.53 3.04 3 207 13.29 3.56 2
Informational 14.27 3.03 1 13.96 3.27 1
Appraisal 13.69 3.06 2 13.02 3.52 3
Instrumental 13.04 3.43 4 12.79 3.59 4

Classmate Emotional 236 12.75 3.05 1 209 12.35 3.70 1
Informational 12.04 3.52 3 11.22 3.90 3
Appraisal 10.78 3.90 4 10.21 4.07 4
Instrumental 12.31 3.98 2 11.94 3.99 2

Close
Friend
Emotional 242 16.08 2.60 1 208 14.45 3.70 1
Informational 15.63 2.67 3 13.96 3.81 3
Appraisal 14.82 3.12 4 13.70 3.71 4
Instrumental 15.94 2.66 2 14.45 3.41 2

School Emotional 235 11.43 3.33 2 207 11.19 4.00 1
Informational 11.54 3.64 1 11.03 4.01 2
Appraisal 11.23 3.66 3 10.86 4.11 3
Instrumental 10.57 4.02 4 10.50 4.00 4

104


Table 10. Paired t tests for Females Indicate Significant Differences in the Ranks of Types of
Support from Specific Sources: df, t, and Significance Values for Each Type of Support Pair for
each Source of Support
Parent Teacher Classmate Close Friend School
Type of Support
Pairs
df t/Sig df t/Sig df t /Sig df t/Sig df t/Sig
Emotional
Informational
236 -1.13
.260
238 -4.71
.00**
238 4.53
.00**
241 3.43
.00**
237 -.732
.456
Emotional -
Appraisal
239 2.93
.00**
239 -1.01
.316
238 10.55
.00**
242 8.23
.00**
236 1.35
.179
Emotional -
Instrumental
237 3.91
.00**
238 2.73
.00**
239 2.71
.00**
242 1.32
.187
239 5.34
.00**
Appraisal -
Informational
238 -3.58
.00**
239 3.86
.00**
237 8.09
.00**
241 6.63
.00**
234 2.30
.02*
Informational -
Instrumental
237 4.59
.00**
238 7.17
.00**
238 -1.49
.137
241 -2.33
.021*
237 7.11
.00**
Appraisal -
Instrumental
239 1.59
.122
240 4.58
.00**
239 -7.48
.00**
242 -7.68
.00**
236 4.75
.00**



Table 11. Paired t tests for Males Indicate Significant Differences in the Ranks of Types of
Support from Specific Sources: df, t, and Significance Values for Each Type of Support Pair for
each Source of Support
Parent Teacher Classmate Close Friend School
Type of Support
Pairs
df t/Sig df t/Sig df t/Sig df t/Sig df t/Sig
Emotional
Informational
209 -.151
.880
208 -3.78
.00**
209 5.81
.00**
208 2.83
.005**
208 1.01
.313
Emotional -
Appraisal
209 3.86
.00**
210 1.57
.118
210 9.27
.00**
208 4.32
.00**
208 2.22
.027*
Emotional -
Instrumental
210 4.89
.00**
210 2.79
.00**
211 2.57
.011*
208 .000
1.00
208 4.13
.00**
Appraisal -
Informational
208 -3.58
.00**
208 5.90
.00**
209 5.28
.00**
210 1.79
.076
209 1.43
.156
Informational -
Instrumental
208 4.95
.00**
208 6.27
.00**
210 -3.01
.00**
210 -2.74
.007**
209 3.56
.00**
Appraisal -
Instrumental
208 1.54
.124
210 1.42
.158
211 -6.97
.00**
211 -4.84
.00**
209 2.09
.038*





105


Table 12 .Descriptive Statistics for the Types of Support and Sources of Support for Males and
Females
Male Female
Support Type
and Source
N Mean Standard
Deviation
N Mean Standard
Deviation
Emotional 206 64.39 13.71 235 66.76 11.43
Informational 203 63.04 13.81 230 66.99 11.96
Appraisal 206 60.18 13.66 234 62.84 12.68
Instrumental 207 61.80 13.56 236 64.06 12.33
Parent 207 50.38 14.08 235 51.03 15.07
Teacher 207 53.06 13.92 237 54.54 12.59
Classmate 209 45.73 15.63 236 47.87 14.46
Close Friend 208 56.55 14.60 242 62.47 11.08
School 207 43.58 16.15 235 44.77 14.66



Table 13. Correlations of the Types of Support and Sources of Support with the Dependent
Variables for Males and Females
Gender Support Type or
Source
Dependent Variables
GPA Attendance Behavior Satisfaction
Males Emotional .103 -.147* .305** .496**
Informational .061 -.160* .240** .373**
Appraisal .089 -.124 .260** .358**
Instrumental .106 -.064 .221** .388**

Females Emotional .145* -.100 .203** .480**
Informational .085 -.031 .196** .419**
Appraisal .132* -.146* .218** .406**
Instrumental .178** -.114 .226** .418**

Male Parent .205** -.139* .243** .362**
Teacher .070 -.090 .194** .367**
Classmate -.001 -.079 .227** .322**
Close Friend -.010 -.064 .152* .242**
School .073 -.124 .222** .320**

Female Parent .276** -.223** .263** .315**
Teacher .117 -.083 .244** .364**
Classmate .067 -.054 .061 .429**
Close Friend -.081 -.015 .129* .226**
School .113 -.014 .149* .362**

106


Table 13a. A Summary Indicating the Types of Support Having the Greatest Correlational Value
with Specific Dependent Variables for Males and Females
Dependent Variables
Gender GPA Attendance Behavior Satisfaction
Males Instrumental
.106
Informational
-.160*
Emotional
.305**
Emotional
.496**
Females Instrumental
.178**
Appraisal
-.146*
Instrumental
.226**
Emotional
.480**



Table 13b. A Summary Indicating the Sources of Support Having the Greatest Correlational
Value with Specific Dependent Variables for Males and Females
Dependent Variables
Gender GPA Attendance Behavior Satisfaction
Males Parent .205** Parent -.139* Parent .243** Teacher .367**
Females Parent .276** Parent -.223** Parent .263** Classmate .429**



107


Table 14. Correlations of Types of Support from Specific Sources of Support with the Dependent
Variables for the Males
Source of Support Type of Support Dependent Variables
GPA Attendance Behavior Satisfaction
Parent Emotional .166* -.179** .283** .341**
Informational .186** -.189** .170* .328**
Appraisal .191** -.173* .278** .328**
Instrumental .169* -.103 .158* .271**

Teacher Emotional .141* -.166* .301** .412**
Informational .054 -.089 .211** .336**
Appraisal -.002 -.034 .076 .309**
Instrumental .034 .000 .135* .269**

Classmate Emotional .008 -.097 .200** .353**
Informational -.060 -.108 .174* .286**
Appraisal .017 -.140* .237** .194**
Instrumental .039 -.039 .172* .293**

Close Friend Emotional .037 -.070 .125 .267**
Informational -.052 -.038 .133 .205**
Appraisal -.016 .014 .153* .196**
Instrumental .004 -.011 .151* .222**

School Emotional .062 -.150* .240** .367**
Informational .061 -.096 .240** .289**
Appraisal .091 -.133 .193** .275**
Instrumental .090 -.052 .177** .281**
**.Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2- tailed).
*.Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2- tailed).











108


Table 15. Correlations of Types of Support from Specific Sources of Support with the Dependent
Variables for the Females
Source of support Type of Support Dependent Variables
GPA Attendance Behavior Satisfaction
Parent Emotional .212** -.180** .204** .324**
Informational .173** -.121 .215** .260**
Appraisal .280** -.220** .245** .253**
Instrumental .319** -.290** .241** .273**

Teacher Emotional .177** -.127* .253** .334**
Informational .083 -.052 .192** .334**
Appraisal .058 -.127* .174** .333**
Instrumental .114 -.124 .245** .300**

Classmate Emotional .050 -.027 .073 .430**
Informational .043 -.084 .020 .370**
Appraisal .074 -.090 .101 .330**
Instrumental .084 -.003 .052 .400**

Close Friend Emotional -.025 .003 .111 .300**
Informational -.122 -.016 .097 .200**
Appraisal -.092 -.002 .094 .173**
Instrumental -.043 -.049 .176** .200**

School Emotional .081 -.041 .104 .352**
Informational .104 -.057 .187** .370**
Appraisal .122 -.091 .181 .360**
Instrumental .106 -.029 .094 .300**
**.Correlation is significant at the p< 0.01 level (2- tailed).
*.Correlation is significant at the p< 0.05 level (2- tailed).



Table 16. A Summary Indicating the Types of Support From Specific Sources Having the
Greatest Correlational Value with Specific Dependent Variables for Males and Females
Dependent Variables
GPA Attendance Behavior Satisfaction
Males Parent Appraisal
.191**
Parent Informational
-.189**
Teacher Emotional
.301**
Teacher Emotional
.412**
Female Parent
Instrumental
.319**
Parent Instrumental
-.290**
Teacher Emotional
.253**
Classmate
Emotional .430**

109


Table 17. Regression Analyses of the Dependent Variables and the Type of Support from
Specific Sources of Support, Including R2, Beta Scores, and Significance Indicators
Source
of
Support
Type of
Support
Dependent Variables
GPA Attendance Behavior Satisfaction
R2 Beta R2 Beta R2 Beta R2 Beta
Parent Emo. -.059 -.014 .126 .238**
Infor. -.023 .016 -.047 .077
App. .179* -.130 .249** .066
Instru. .170* -.090 -.058 -.014
.070** .043** .078** .121**
Teacher Emo. .263** -.209** .317** .245**
Infor. -.038 .053 .085 .116
App. -.142 -.008 -.236** .084
Instru. .038 .046 .096 -.026
.037** .025** .095** .149**
Classm. Emo. .006 -.032 .109 .270**
Infor. -.133 -.078 -.019 .108
App. .089 -.119 .203** -.105
Instru. .086 .135 -.024 .155*
.010 .021 .036** .169**
Friend Emo. .132 -.066 -.029 .310**
Infor. -.106 -.051 .033 -.049
App. -.074 .114 .004 .038
Instru. .090 -.039 .164 -.044
.018 .007 .029** .072**
School Emo. -.059 -.114 .014 .293**
Infor. .001 .016 .283** .091
App. .113 -.257** .156 .102
Instru. .046 .255** -.253** -.117
.012 .029** .060** .134**












110


Table 17a. Summary for Regression Table Most Powerfully Significant Beta Score for Each
Social Support with Each Dependent Variable and % of Variance Accounted for.
Source of
Support
Type of
Support
GPA Attendance Behavior Satisfaction
Parent Emotional. .238**
Informational
Appraisal .179* .249**
Instrumental .170*
R Square 7.0% 4.3% 7.8% 12.1%
Teacher Emotional. .263** -.209** .317** .245**
Informational
Appraisal -.236**
Instrumental
R Square 3.7% 2.5% 9.5% 12.1%
Classm. Emotional. .207**
Informational
Appraisal .203**
Instrumental .155*
R Square 3.6% 16.9%
Friend Emotional. .310**
Informational
Appraisal
Instrumental
R Square 2.9% 7.2%
School Emotional. .293**
Informational .283**
Appraisal -.257**
Instrumental .255** -.253**
R Square 2.9% 6.0% 13.4%







111


Appendix B

Graph and Histograms


112


Graph 1. Scatter Plot of Activities and Emotional Support




Scatter Plot of Activities and Support 1



















































E
m
o
t
i
o
n
a
l

S
u
p
p
o
r
t


Activities
12.0 10.0 8.0 6.0 4.0 2.0 0.0

100.00
80.00
60.00
40.00
20.00
0.00
R Sq Linear = 1.18E-4
113


Histogram 1. Frequency Distribution of Actual Grad Point Averages Obtained from
Student Records
GPA
100 80 60 40
F
r
e
q
u
e
n
c
y
60
50
40
30
20
10
0
Actual GPA
Mean =80.02
Std. Dev. =10.508
N =715
Normal
114


Histogram 2. Frequency Distribution of Self Reported Grad Point Averages Obtained
from Demographic Survey

GPA
100 90 80 70 60 50
F
r
e
q
u
e
n
c
y
60
50
40
30
20
10
0
Self Reoprted GPA
Mean =85.82
Std. Dev. =8.485
N =454
Normal





115


Appendix C
Demographic Survey

116


Demographic Survey
1.) How are your GRADES? Please place a check mark () in the box that best reflects your
overall grade for the following high school classes.
A (100-90) B (89-80) C (79-70) D (69-65) F (64 or less)
English
Mathematics
Social Studies
Science


2.) What is your approximate overall Grade Point Average? _________


3.) How is your BEHAVIOR in the classroom? For example, do you listen to the teachers
requests to be seated, not to talk, to be respectful of others, pay attention and not to fool around.
My Behavior is
____Outstanding
____Above Average
____Average
____Needs Improvement
____Unacceptable


4.) How is your ATTENDENCE? Think about how often you have been late or absent in the
last year and check () the appropriate description.
I am late (at least 5 minutes
late) for class
I have an excused absence I have an unexcused absence
____ Never
____ 1 5 times a year
____ 5 10 times a year
____ 10 15 times a year
____ 15 20 times a year
____ 20 25 times a year
____ Over 25 times a year
____ Never
____ 1 5 times a year
____ 5 10 times a year
____ 10 15 times a year
____ 15 20 times a year
____ 20 25 times a year
____ Over 25 times a year
____ Never
____ 1 5 times a year
____ 5 10 times a year
____ 10 15 times a year
____ 15 20 times a year
____ 20 25 times a year
____ Over 25 times a year


5.) How SATISFIED are you with your high school experience? I would describe my
satisfaction with my overall school experience as
____ Very Dissatisfied
____ Mostly Dissatisfied
____ Somewhat Dissatisfied
____ Mixed
____ Somewhat Satisfied
____ Mostly Satisfied
____Very Satisfied
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6.) How often do you participate in EXTRA-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES?
Please place a check ( ) mark in the box that indicates the activity/activities and the grade level
during which you participated.
CLUBS/ACTIVITIES: Grade 9 Grade 10 Grade 11 Grade 12
Art Club
Band
Book Club
Chess Club
Chorus
Class Officer
Environmental Club
French Club
FBLA
Game Club
Hockey Club
Holocaust Club
Mentor Club
Model UN
Mock Trial
National Honor Society
Peer Mediation
School Play (Drama)
School Musical
Science Club
Ski Club
Student Council
T Talk ( School Paper)
Weight Lifting Club
Year Book
Youth Court

ATHLETICS
Basketball
Bowling
Cheerleading
Cross Country
Football
Golf
Soccer
Softball
Swimming
Tennis
Track & Field
Volleyball
Wrestling
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Appendix D
Child and Adolescent Social Support Scale


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120


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Appendix E
Internal Review Board Requirements:
Letter to Parents
Information Sheet
Student Verbal Consent

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Dear Parents, May, 2007



Tonawanda High School is dedicated to the healthy development of our students. The
Search Institute has recognized 40 developmental assets every child should have many of which
involve student support. Support, an asset that all students need to thrive, comes from a variety
of sources, parents, teachers, classmates and friends, and in a variety of forms, emotional,
informational, appraisal, and instructional. Each source of the support network has some form of
support that can be offered, impacting various aspects of the adolescents behavior and success.
However, we are not sure of the specific affects that support may have on our students. Does it
have an impact on their grades? Can it improve their attendance, or behavior? Does it affect
their high school overall satisfaction?


Ms Fezer, one of our high school counselors, will be attempting to learn the ways in
which support helps our students succeed in school. She will be administering a questionnaire to
the student body in order to research the impact of social support on grades, behavior,
attendance, school satisfaction and participation in extracurricular activities. She will be
studying school wide data, thus no names of the students will be required on the questionnaires.
The questionnaire will require approximately 25 minutes and will be done during the school day.
Participation is on a voluntary basis. If you do not want your son or daughter to participate in
this project, please call the guidance department.


The results of this survey will assist teachers, parents and the school to provide our
students with the support network necessary for them to be successful in school. Thank you in
advance for your continued parental support. With your help we can continue to educate our
students and ensure that they have the developmental assets necessary for a success in high
school, college, chosen careers, and in life.

Sincerely,

Mrs. Frey,
Tonawanda High School Principal

Ms. Fezer,
Tonawanda School Counselor

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Information Sheet
Invitation to participate in a Research Project


Introduction
Your son/daughter has been invited to participate in a school wide research project titled the
Adolescent Social Support Network. This study is being conducted by Ms. Maryanna Fezer
under the supervision of Dr. Tom Frantz from the department of Counseling and Educational
Psychology at the University at Buffalo, and with the support of the Tonawanda principal, Ms.
Frey, and the Tonawanda Superintendent of Schools, Dr Barbara Peters.

Volunteer Status
Your childs participation in this study is completely voluntary. Refusal to participate will
involve no penalty or loss of benefits, to which your child is entitled as a student at Tonawanda
High School. Your child has the right to refuse to answer particular questions and may choose to
withdraw from the study at any time while answering the survey. The survey is anonymous
therefore, once they have been collected, they can not be linked to a particular student. Should
you not want your son/daughter to complete the surveys, please call the high school guidance
department, 694-7673, or Ms. Maryanna Fezer, 432-4683.

Purpose
The purpose of this research activity is to examine the impact of social support on the high
school adolescent. Various sources types of support are believed to have an impact on academic
performance, school attendance, school satisfaction, participation in extra curricular activities,
and behavior. The results of this study should further our understanding of the effects of social
support on the adolescent. This understanding will assist educators and parents identify crucial
supportive behaviors that could be targeted for interventions.

Procedure
Your son or daughter will complete two surveys. One will collect self reported information as
overall grades, attendance, and school satisfaction. The second will collect information on
his/her social support network. The questions are general in nature, and require the student to
circle a response.

Time Commitment
Your son/daughters participation in this study should take approximately 25 to 30 minutes
during the school day.

Risks
There are no known risks to participate in this study. However, there are four school counselors
in the high school guidance office should your son/daughter want to discuss reactions to the
survey.

Benefits
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There is likely no direct benefit to your son/daughter for participating in this study, but it will
help us (and other school counselors and educators) to develop more effective intervention
behaviors and programs that address the social support needs of the student.

Payment
There is no cost to have your son/daughter participate in this survey.

Confidentially
Your son/daughters privacy will be maintained. No names will be collected on either survey.
Only the statistical details will be included in the ensuing paper.

Protocol
The primary investigator will have assistance from the high school principal and the teaching
staff. Each teacher will have approximately 20 students in an extended home room period. All
home rooms are equipped with TV sets. The primary investigator will introduce herself and the
read the student Verbal Consent Letter from the high schools Media Center, speaking to the
students via a live TV broadcast. She will then ask the teachers to pass out the survey packet to
the students. The students will have prior knowledge of this event via the announcements from
the principal earlier in the week and through a parent information letter sent home, however,
should the students have any questions, the teachers will call the primary investigator in the
media center, and she will address the questions to the classes via the TV broadcast. Teachers
will collect the materials and deliver them to the Guidance Center at the end of the period.

For further information
Any questions that you may have about this study can be answered by Maryanna Fezer. (716)
432-4683 or mmfezer@buffalo.edu or the high school principal, MS Frey who can be reached at
694-7670




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Student Verbal Consent

The following will be read to the students prior to the administration the questionnaires.


You are about to participate in a research project intended to assess the impact of social
support on the academic success of students. The results of this survey will be used to assist
your teachers, parents and the school to provide you with the support network necessary to be
successful in school.

You will be given two questionnaires. Your name is not required on any of the papers.
This will take approximately 30 minutes.

Your participation is voluntary. If you do not wish to participate, you may quietly sit and
focus on other school work. You will not be penalized, in any way, if you choose not to
participate.

If you choose to participate, please answer the questions to the best of your ability. It is
your right to skip a question, skip a section, or to end your participation at any time while you
have the survey. As you complete the surveys, please dont hesitate to ask if you have any
questions. Thank you for your cooperation.