Exploration of the relationships between strengths, academic performance, and classroom behavior in young students
Pye, Melissa Francine
Master of Arts
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Positive psychology is a theoretical framework, which emphasizes the importance of understanding and utilizing individuals’ strengths, as opposed to focusing on their deficits. Since this framework is relatively new, there is little research that has explored the utility of strengths in a school setting, and in particular, the relationship between young students’ strengths, their academic performance, and classroom behavior. The current study examined these relationships through the use of 3 questionnaires: 1) the Teacher Rating Scale (TRS) of the Behavioral Emotional Rating Scales (BERS 2; Epstein, 2004), 2) a modified version of the Strength Assessment Inventory (SAT, Rawana, Brownlee, & Hewitt, 2006), and 3) a modified version of the Teacher Report Form (TRF) from the Achenbach System of Empirically Based Assessment (ASEBA; Achenbach & Rescorla, 2001). It was hypothesized that: I) all students, regardless of academic performance and behavior, will have some strengths in all domains measured, 2) strengths will be positively correlated with academic performance, 3) scores on the BERS 2 will be negatively correlated with scores on the TRF, and additionally, 4) total scores on the BERS 2 and the S AI will be highly positively correlated and those scales that measure overlapping content areas will be more highly correlated than other scales. Data was analyzed using both Pearson correlations and canonical correlations, and yielded results that supported all hypotheses. Perhaps most interestingly, strengths were found to be related to both performance and behavior, however, the nature of the relationship was different for boys and girls.