Coping with school failure: Development of the school failure coping scale

  • Majda Rijavec
  • Ingrid Brdar


The present study describes the development of a self-report measure of coping with school failure for children and adolescents. A list of 56 items had been collected in the sample of 142 subjects aged from 9 to 18 years. The items were administered to 500 elementary and high school students. Factor analysis of the data produced seven coping strategies: Anger, Accepting Responsibility, Comfort and Forgetting, Seeking Social Support, Parents, Inadequate Reactions, and Disengagement. Internal consistencies were in the .59 to .76 range.

Significant age effects were found for Accepting Responsibility, Comfort and Forgetting, and Parents, indicating that elementary school children, compared to high school students, accept greater responsibility, try harder to forget and take comfort, and seek help more from their parents. Significant gender effects were found for Accepting Responsibility, Seeking Social Support, and Inadequate Reactions, indicating that girls accept greater responsibility, more often use social support, and have fewer inadequate reactions than boys.

Overall pattern of results also suggests that high achievers use more positive coping strategies (mainly accepting responsibility) and less negative strategies (anger, inadequate reactions and disengagement) than low or average achievers.

Key words

Coping School failure Stress 


L’étude décrit la construction d’un questionnaire permettant d’évaluer le mode de rapport d’enfants et d’adolescents à l’échec scolaire. 56 items ont été retenus à partir d’un échatillon de 142 sujets de 9 à 18 ans. Les items ont ensuite été administré à 500 élèves d’école élémentaire et et de lycée. L’analyse factorielle des donnés a permis de dégager sept stratégies d’affrontement: révolte, acceptation de la responsabilité, consolation et oubli, recherche de soutien social, parents, réactions inadéquates et désengagement. Les consistances internes varient de .59 à 76. On observe des effets significatifs de l’âge pour «acceptation de la responsabilité», «consolation et oubli» et «parents». Ces effets montrent que, comparés aux élèves de lycées, les enfants d’école élémentaire s’attribuent une plus grande responsabilité, essaient davantage d’oublier et de se consoler et recherchent plus d’aide de leurs parents. On observe aussi des effets significatifs du sexe des élèves pour l’acceptation de responsabilité, la recherche de soutien social et ont moins de réactions inadéquates que les garçons. L’ensemble des résultats suggère également que les élèves réussissant bien utilisent plus de stratégies positives d’affrontement (principalement acceptation de la responsabilité) et moins de stratégies négatives (révolte, réactions inadéquates et désengagement) que les élèves moyens ou faibles


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Copyright information

© Instituto Superior de Psicologia Aplicada, Lisbon, Portugal/ Springer Netherlands 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Majda Rijavec
    • 1
  • Ingrid Brdar
    • 2
  1. 1.Faculty of EducationZagrebCroatia
  2. 2.Faculty of EducationRijekaCroatia

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