Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 46, Issue 3, pp 558–569 | Cite as

Promoting a Positive Middle School Transition: A Randomized-Controlled Treatment Study Examining Self-Concept and Self-Esteem

  • Vitor Alexandre Coelho
  • Marta Marchante
  • Shane R. Jimerson
Empirical Research


The middle school transition is a salient developmental experience impacting adolescents around the world. This study employed a randomized-controlled treatment design, with randomization at the school level, to investigate the impact of a school adjustment program for middle school transition and potential gender differences. Participants included 1147 students (M age = 9.62; SD = 0.30, 45.7 % girls), who were assessed at four time points during the transition, regarding five dimensions of self-concept (academic, social, emotional, physical and family) and self-esteem. Parallel growth curves were employed to analyze the evolution of self-concept. Following the transition to middle school, students reported lower levels of self-concept (academic, emotional and physical) and self-esteem, while participation in the intervention led to increases in self-esteem and gains in social self-concept. No gender differences were found. These results provide preliminary evidence supporting such interventions in early middle school transitions.


Middle school transition Self-concept Self-esteem Gender differences 



Project Positive Attitude is funded by the Municipality of Torres Vedras.

Author Contributions

V.A.C. conceived of the study, participated in its design and coordination, performed the statistical analysis and drafted the manuscript; M.M. performed the measurement, drafted the manuscript and participated in the interpretation of the data; S.R.J. participated in the design, the statistical analysis and interpretation of the data. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Conflict of interest

The authors report no conflict of interests.

Ethical Standard

The present study was conducted following the national professional code of ethics for psychologists, following national legislation.

Informed Consent

All schools used passive informed consent, following national legislation when a program is integrated into the school curriculum.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vitor Alexandre Coelho
    • 1
  • Marta Marchante
    • 1
  • Shane R. Jimerson
    • 2
  1. 1.Académico Torres VedrasTorres VedrasPortugal
  2. 2.Department of Counseling, Clinical, and School PsychologyUniversity of California, Santa BarbaraSanta BarbaraUSA

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