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Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 47, Issue 6, pp 1192–1207 | Cite as

Positive Developmental Changes after Transition to High School: Is Retrospective Growth Correlated with Measured Changes in Current Status of Personal Growth?

  • Shuhei Iimura
  • Kanako Taku
Empirical Research

Abstract

The transition to high school is generally considered as a stressful turning point in adolescent development, but some students experience personal growth (i.e., positive developmental changes) through that experience. It is important to examine the mechanism behind such positive changes to understand various developmental patterns of adolescents during the transition. However, the concept of growth in this research area remains unexplored. Some researchers have questioned whether retrospective, self-reported growth reflects actual positive changes in the perception of personal growth. We elaborated on the concept of growth after high school transition by examining whether retrospective appraisal of personal growth after transition to high school is correlated with measured change in growth. Two hundred and sixty-two Japanese adolescents (aged 14–16 years, 50% girls) participated in surveys right before and right after transition. We assessed five domains of growth, including improved relating to others, identification of new possibilities, increased sense of personal strength, spiritual growth, and greater appreciation of life. The results showed that retrospective assessment of growth and measured change during transition were positively associated, provided the adolescents reported the transition as an important turning point in their lives. Adolescents who experienced salient positive changes across the transition were more likely to engage in intrusive and deliberate rumination and social support than adolescents who reported fewer changes. In summary, retrospective growth covaried with measured change only when adolescents perceived the transition as impactful in their lives.

Keywords

School transition Posttraumatic growth Event centrality Latent change score modeling Rumination Social support 

Introduction

The transition from middle school to high school can be a turning point that alters adolescents’ psychological functions or developmental trajectories (Benner 2011 for review). The transition to high school is often a normative experience determined by the education system of each country. It occurs during a developmental period when most adolescents experience psychological, physical, and social changes related to puberty (Lord et al. 1994). The transition to high school can be challenging (Benner 2011), because students’ high school lives are “their first exposure to a completely departmentalized curriculum, extensive academic tracking, ordering of ability via class rankings, and recurrent reminders of graduation requirements” (Benner and Graham 2009 p. 356). Building relationships with new classmates and school personnel at high school can be stressful but may provide an opportunity to grow as a person. However, it is still unclear why some students experience personal growth after the stressful transition or what is the nature of personal growth related to the transition. In the current study, for the first time, we provide a framework to examine the mechanism of growth after high school transition and refine the concept of personal growth.

The transition has been understood as a stressor (Benner 2011). Several longitudinal studies have tested the effects of the transition. For example, anxiety and loneliness increased immediately after the transition to high school (Benner and Graham 2009) and depression increased across the transition (Newman et al. 2007). Wang and Eccles (2012) reported that students experienced decreased school engagement from middle school to high school, suggesting that such a decline may be the result of the potential mismatch between the adolescent’s stage of development and the school environment. On the other hand, some adolescents may experience positive psychological changes (e.g., being able to challenge new things or understand others’ emotions better) as a result of their struggle with the transition. In some studies, students reported improved psychological functions including relationships with others (Isakson and Jarvis 1999), self-concept (Facchin et al. 2014), self-consciousness (Tsuzuki 2009), and academic achievement (Gutman and Midgley 2000) during school transition. It is also possible for some adolescents to develop self-esteem or empathic abilities. Also, increased support from friends has been observed in longitudinal studies (Seidman et al. 1996). Adolescents also reported increasing cognitive awareness regarding positive peer relationships following the transition (Tsuzuki 2009). These positive changes are unsurprising, because the transition entails a shift in the students’ social networks as they moved from middle school with familiar friends to a new high school with new classmates (Benner 2011).

The Effect of Transition to High School on Japanese Adolescents

There is a lack of psychological literature on high school transition in Eastern countries, such as Japan. The typical educational system in Japan is different from that of other countries. As of 2017, high school education is not compulsory in Japan, yet the high school entrance rate exceeds 97%. Japanese students spend six years at elementary school and three years at junior high school or middle school. If they choose to go to high school and pass the entrance examination, students attend high school for another three years. Students graduate from school in March. And school starts in April. Unlike public high schools in the United States, Japanese students are not always able to enter the high school they desire to study in, because some schools are highly competitive. In Japan, most students must pass the difficult entrance examinations to enter high school. The main purpose of a high school education is to provide comprehensive education and skills for employment. Although Japanese high schools generally do not require graduation examinations, they do require students to meet academic achievements and attendance standards for graduation. After graduating from high school, about 80% of the students enter higher education institutions, such as universities, and the others seek employment. Conversely, some students drop out without graduating from high school. The number of dropouts (1.4%) is larger in the freshman year of high school than in other high school years. Of the total dropouts, 53% are freshmen, 35% are sophomores, and 12% are seniors, suggesting that first-year students find the transition difficult. Reasons given by students for dropping out include “having no motivation for school life” and “difficulty in maintaining good interpersonal relationships” (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology 2016). As the dropout rate shows, shifting from compulsory to non-compulsory education, that is, from middle school to high school, is likely to be a major developmental challenge for some, if not all, Japanese adolescents (Iimura 2017). Some students may consider the transition as a crisis in their academic and social lives that will influence their emotional and cognitive development.

After the high school transition, various patterns of developmental trajectories—decline, stability, growth—can occur. As “the extant literature suggests that high school transitions pose challenges to adolescents’ socio-emotional well-being” (Benner 2011 p. 310), many studies have reported developmental trajectories showing decline after the transition (Benner et al. 2017). As such, there is a high interest in the negative side of the transition in Japan as well. In addition, the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology has recommended an educational policy to eliminate the transition to high school by adding an integrated junior and senior high school. As a background to this, we argue that studies on the developmental trajectory of the high school transition have not sufficiently attained knowledge about the characteristics of the students who might have experienced positive changes. Again, the transition to high school does not necessarily have a negative effect on all students. We consider that clarifying the impact on the positive development of the transition to high school not only promotes an appropriate understanding of the high school transition and development, but also provides an opportunity to reconsider desirable educational policies. It is important to consider the impact of the concept that positive developmental changes can occur following a stressful turning point, and that this concept can be understood in the literature as a phenomenon of posttraumatic growth (Tedeschi and Calhoun 1996). The current study investigates the nature of growth experienced by Japanese students within a theoretical framework of posttraumatic growth (Calhoun and Tedeschi 2006).

Positive Developmental Changes related to Turning Points in Adolescents’ Lives

Posttraumatic growth refers to positive psychological changes that may occur following turning points in one’s life that involve highly stressful and challenging life experiences and trauma (Tedeschi and Calhoun 1996). Studies have confirmed that adolescents may experience growth as a consequence of their psychological struggle with a variety of stressful life events; for example, natural disasters, cancer, and parental loss, which can become a reference point for their lives (Kilmer et al. 2014 for review). Importantly, posttraumatic growth could arise from normative life events (Calhoun et al. 2000), such as romantic relationship breakups (Tashiro and Frazier 2003), high school entrance examinations (Iimura 2016), unemployment (Waters and Strauss 2016), and childbirth (Sawyer and Ayers 2009), but only if it becomes a psychologically seismic and impactful experience that shakes and challenges one’s belief and schema—Posttraumatic growth does not necessarily need objective trauma. Tedeschi and Calhoun (2004) have indicated that it takes a seismic or severe stressor to disrupt one’s world view enough to open the window for growth to occur. Studies have identified transformative positive changes in several qualitatively different domains, such as improved relating to others, identification of new possibilities, increased sense of personal strength, spiritual change, and greater appreciation of life (Tedeschi and Calhoun 1996).

Although some similarities such as growth domains, models, and methods, have been identified between adolescents (Kilmer et al. 2014) and adults (Calhoun and Tedeschi 2006), there are also differences. For example, youths’ responses to stressful events, their understanding of what happened, and their coping repertoires are meaningfully influenced by caregivers, because their psychological consciousness, or the cognitive resources—including basic assumptions, competence in regulating emotions and stress-related thoughts, and more realistic control expectations—that foster growth, are not yet developed (Kilmer et al. 2014). Such positive changes have been studied qualitatively (Shakespeare-Finch et al. 2013) and quantitatively (Kilmer and Gil-Rivas 2010), although not from the normative life events, demonstrating strong evidence of construct validity of posttraumatic growth. These studies have suggested that several social-cognitive factors contribute to growth processes among adolescents. A conceptual model of posttraumatic growth in children and youth (Kilmer et al. 2014; Meyerson et al. 2011 for review) includes pre-trauma factors, post-trauma distress responses, post-trauma resources and functioning, social processes, and cognitive processes, such as ruminative thoughts.

Event-Related Rumination and Social Support

From the perspective of posttraumatic growth theory, when students experience something psychological seismic—shaking their existing cognitive schema or core briefs—(Taku et al. 2015) by transitioning from familiar school contexts to new and unfamiliar ones (Benner and Graham 2007), both negative and positive changes can occur. As previous research on school transition has shown, on average, anxiety and depression increased after the transition (Benner 2011), but this implies that some students are cognitively struggling with transitional tasks. For example, students are expected to commit to new role expectations (Bleidorn 2012), and as a result of the reconsideration and exploration of commitment, students’ identity formation can be facilitated (Albarello et al. 2017). Such cognitive struggle with psychologically seismic events may be observed in the form of rumination.

Two types of event-related cognitive rumination have been identified to influence posttraumatic growth (Cann et al. 2011). Intrusive ruminations are “unsolicited invasions of one’s cognitive world—thoughts about an experience that one does not choose to bring to mind” (Cann et al. 2011 p. 138). They are frequently associated with distress related to stressful experience; however, they may initiate the growth process, because intrusive rumination can be an indicator of how stressful and impactful the triggering event has been. Intrusive ruminations soon after the event were positively related to posttraumatic growth (Taku et al. 2009). Perhaps because they help set the stage for further cognitive processing, such as more deliberate and constructive rumination, and not because they directly foster positive changes. That is, we cannot fully explain the process of growth simply by examining intrusive rumination caused by a stressful life experience, so it is important to distinguish it from deliberate-type of rumination.

Although rumination is viewed as negative response that is linked to increased depression and anxiety in the literature on coping (Hankin 2008), the mechanism of personal growth emphasizes shifting negative and mostly automatic (i.e., intrusive) rumination to intentional and deliberate rumination (Cann et al. 2011). From coping perspectives, the goal tends to reduce stress reactions (Compas et al. 2001); therefore, rumination, especially intrusive rumination, is considered as negative and should be well-regulated or even reduced, whereas from growth perspectives, the goal tends to foster realization of personal growth, even though the process is challenging, and thus stressful and often painful. Therefore, rumination is considered as a necessary step and expected to shift qualitatively to more constructive and deliberate rumination.

Deliberate ruminations are “engaged in voluntarily and can be focused purposefully on trying to understand events and their implications” (Cann et al. 2011 p. 138). Deliberate rumination is more likely to lead to growth (Taku et al. 2009). The theoretical model of posttraumatic growth in children (Kilmer et al. 2014) hypothesized that growth would occur as a result of deliberate and intrusive rumination, which has been supported empirically (Taku et al. 2012). As such, we hypothesized that growth following the transition to high school would positively relate to these two types of ruminations.

Another key factor that contributes to positive developmental change is social support from parents, friends, and teachers (Kilmer 2006). Social support can be important because it contributes to adolescents’ reactions, including rumination and recovery, following stressful experiences (Kilmer et al. 2014). According to the systematic literature review on posttraumatic growth, more than half of the existing literature has identified the positive relationship between social support and growth (Meyerson et al. 2011). Not limited to the context of posttraumatic growth, research on transition to high school has also advocated the significance of social support for positive development (Wang and Eccles 2012). For example, Isakson and Jarvis (1999) suggest that perceived support from a person close to students is important for their adaptation to their new life in high school. We therefore hypothesized that the degree of social support that students perceive after the transition to high school would relate to personal growth.

Relationship between Retrospective Appraisal of Growth and Actual Positive Change

In a literature on posttraumatic growth, studies are largely based on cross-sectional designs that assess growth using retrospective data (Jayawickreme and Blackie 2014), and some researchers have suspected the meaning of true growth. This skepticism has been discussed based on the Janus Face Model (Maercker and Zoellner 2004). According to this model, posttraumatic growth consists of two sides: a constructive side and a self-deceptive, illusory side. “The constructive side could be straightforward, brought into line with functional adjustment or functional cognitive restructuring, whereas the self-deceptive side might be linked to denial, avoidance, wishful thinking, self-consolidation, or palliation” (Maercker and Zoellner 2004 p. 43). In this regard, Frazier et al. (2009) argue that the cross-sectional and retrospective nature of posttraumatic growth tend to reflect the illusory side rather than the constructive side. They also raised an important question to refine the concept of growth: Does retrospective, self-reported growth reflect actual positive changes?

Since this question was raised, at least four empirical studies have investigated the relationship between retrospective and prospective appraisal of growth among adults. Frazier and her colleagues (2009) tested whether retrospective growth reflects positive change from pre- to post-trauma using an eight-week interval. In their study, retrospective growth, measured by the Posttraumatic Growth Inventory, was defined as perceived growth, whereas chronological changes in psychological status that correspond with growth domains were defined as actual growth. They found that perceived growth was not correlated with actual growth, which raised the issue of the discrepancies between retrospective growth and changes in the current status of growth.

Johnson and Boals (2015) hypothesized that perceived growth would reflect actual positive changes only if the degree of salience of the triggering event (i.e., event centrality; Berntsen and Rubin 2006) was considered high, because growth is likely to occur when the event is perceived as a turning point (Aspinwall and Tedeschi 2010). They investigated stressful events that the participants experienced as reference or turning points in their lives (i.e., high level of event centrality), rather than targeting all stressful events reported. They found that perceived growth was positively correlated with actual change when events had high centrality, supporting their hypothesis.

Although these studies have fostered our understanding of the nature of growth, they have been focused on adults; few longitudinal studies have been conducted with adolescents. As Robins et al. (2005) demonstrate, the association between retrospective and prospective appraisal in personality traits may covary with more actual change in younger people than in older people. Childhood and adolescence are constantly accompanied by salient developmental changes described as storm and stress; therefore, it is important to evaluate the nature of growth among adolescents.

Current Study

In order to further investigate the concept of growth that may occur as a result of the high school transition, this study examined how retrospective growth that students reported after the transition would be correlated with measured changes in growth, chronologically, from middle school to high school. We tested the following two hypotheses.

First, we expected that retrospective appraisal of growth after the transition is positively related to changes in growth in five domains (relating to others, new possibilities, personal strength, spiritual change, and appreciation of life), but only if the transition to high school is perceived as a significant turning point in their lives (hypothesis 1). As Johnson and Boals (2015) have revealed, because students with low event centrality of high school transition are unlikely to recognize the experience of transition as a significant turning point of their life or identity, they will feel lower distress and are not able to accurately evaluate their own growth. In this case, retrospective appraisal of growth after the transition might reflect illusion to some extent, and is not likely to relate to actual positive changes assessed before and after the transition. Conversely, because students with high event centrality are likely to recognize the school transition as a significant event, they have no or little recall bias when evaluating self-growth retrospectively. As such, these students can evaluate their positive changes, if any, appropriately, and their retrospective growth would be positively associated with actual changes.

Second, we hypothesized that where retrospective growth and measured positive changes are related to each other; these will show similar associations with other known variables, such as intrusive and deliberate rumination and social support (hypothesis 2). According to posttraumatic growth or posttraumatic theory (Kilmer et al. 2014), rumination after experience of the highly stressful life events represents cognitive struggle with the stressful situation and promotes positive changes. We expected that students with high transition-related rumination would show a high level of growth. According to this theory we have applied, social support will help students understand and deal with their own experiences. We therefore hypothesized that students who perceived more support after the transition would show higher growth. If this hypothesis is correct, it is supported that the construct validity of the growth measured in this study approximates the growth structure measured in the previous study.

Method

Participants and Procedure

Participants were included as part of a two-annual-wave longitudinal research project titled, “Adolescent Development during Transition to High School” that is currently in progress. This project was approved by the institutional review board of Chuo University (approval number: 2017-4). Unlike in the United States where the educational system varies among states, the same educational system is applied all over Japan. Therefore, we collected data from throughout Japan. First, adults (n = 20,000) were recruited by the investigation company MACROMILL (http://monitor.macromill.com). Then, the adults confirmed whether they have a child who is in ninth grade. After informed consent was obtained, on an online form, from one of the caregivers (mother = 132, father = 178, Mage = 46.11, SDage = 4.53, 5% unmarried, and 61% had a family income range from 2,000,000 to 10,000,000 Japanese yen, which is approximately US$ 18,000 to $ 89,000 as of 2018) with a child in the ninth grade, the children were contacted and asked to participate in an anonymous online survey. Participants were allocated an arbitrary ID, which was used to combine the data from this and a second survey. In this survey, the children reported their gender and grade, and completed several questionnaires. After the survey was completed, caregivers received points from the investigation company, which they could change into money.

Three hundred and ten ninth-grade children (156 girls, 154 boys, age 14–15 years) signed the consent form and participated in the survey at Time 1 (T1), in March, one month before the transition to high school. Two months after T1, 85% of the original sample (n = 262, 132 girls, 130 boys, age 15–16 years, dropout = 15%) who enrolled in high school participated in the survey again at Time 2 (T2). The time interval was decided based on previous research on school transition (Benner and Graham 2007) and posttraumatic growth (Johnson and Boals 2015) to capture the changes during the transition. There were no significant mean differences in scale scores used in T1 between students who participated twice and students who dropped out (22 girls and 26 boys)1Students did not receive any compensation for participation. In addition, sample size in this study was determined in advance and there were no participants or variables that were removed while testing hypotheses.

Measures

Retrospective appraisal of growth after the transition

Students completed the Japanese version of the Revised Posttraumatic Growth Inventory for Children (PTGI-C-R) (Kilmer et al. 2009; Taku et al. 2012) at T2 to assess growth following the high school transition. The PTGI-C-R includes 10 items that assess five growth domains. The domains were: relating to others (e.g., “I learned how nice and helpful people can be”), new possibilities (e.g., “I have new ideas how I want things to be when I grow up”), personal strength (e.g., “I have learned that I can deal with more”), spiritual change (e.g., “My faith in nonhuman power, such as God, Buddha, or ancestors, etc. is stronger”), and appreciation of life (e.g., “I know more about what is important to me”). Each item was rated on a 4-point scale, ranging from 1 (not at all) to 4 (a very great degree). McDonald’s omega (1999) and Cronbach’s alpha were both .91 for the 10-item total score. As an index of internal consistency, correlation coefficients between two items comprising each subscale were calculated. The coefficients (p < .001) were .53 for relating to others, .62 for new possibilities, .64 for personal strength, .68 for spiritual changes, and .54 for appreciation of life, suggesting adequate internal consistency.

Current status of personal growth during the transition

To measure quantifiable, chronological change in growth from middle school to high school, we applied the Current standing version of the Posttraumatic Growth Inventory (C-PTGI) developed by Frazier et al. (2009). The difference between C-PTGI and PTGI-C-R is that (a) the items of C-PTGI are in present tense, whereas the items of PTGI-C-R are in past tense and (b) C-PTGI measures the current recognition in the recent two weeks, while PTGI-C-R measures the degree of growth following the particular event (i.e., high school transition) an individual has experienced in the past. “Actual positive changes” are evaluated by subtracting the C-PTGI scores of T1 from T2.

In this study, the 21-item C-PTGI was modified using easier sentences based on the PTGI-C-R (Kilmer et al. 2009; Taku et al. 2012). The C-PTGI assesses students’ recognition of their status over the past two weeks at each survey point (e.g., “I have known how nice and helpful people can be”) without attributing the contents to transition. Students completed this inventory at T1 and T2. Items were rated on a 4-point scale range from 1 (not at all) to 4 (a very great degree). Internal consistency of the 10-item total score was satisfactory (T1: omega = .85, alpha = .85; T2: omega = .81, alpha = .81). The correlation coefficients (p < .001) between the two items consisting each subscale were, in order of T1 and T2, .42 and .34 for relating to others, .47 and .45 for new possibilities, .49 and .47 for personal strength, .57 and .53 for spiritual change, and .40 and .42 for appreciation of life, indicating good internal consistency. In addition, test-retest reliability (p < .001) over two months (i.e., correlation coefficients between T1 and T2) was .47 for the 10-item total score, .40 for relating to others, .35 for new possibilities, .44 for personal strength, .41 for spiritual change, and .37 for appreciation of life.

Transition-related rumination

We employed the Event Related Rumination Inventory for Japanese (Taku et al. 2015) at T2 to assess intrusive and deliberate rumination about the transition. Although the inventory consists of ten items for each type of rumination, we selected three items that showed higher factor loadings (Kamijo et al. 2016, July) for intrusive rumination (e.g., “Thoughts about the event came to mind and I could not stop thinking about them”) and deliberate rumination (e.g., “I thought about whether I have learned anything as a result of my experience”). The following instruction was used to capture transition-related rumination: “Indicate for the following items how often you had the experiences described during the weeks immediately after the entrance to high school.” Items were scored on a 6-point scale from 1 (not at all) to 6 (often). Internal consistency was .93 for omega and .93 for alpha for intrusive rumination and .88 for omega and .87 for alpha for deliberate rumination.

Social support

We used the Japanese version of the Duke Social Support Index (Iwase and Ikeda 2008) at T2 to assess perceived support after the transition. The six items (e.g., “Do your family and friends understand your mind?”) were scored on a 5-point scale (e.g., 1 = not at all understanding to 5 = very well understanding). These items had poor internal consistency (omega = .64, alpha = .51).

Event centrality

The Japanese translated version of the Centrality of Event Scale (Naka 2008) was used to assess how central the transition to high school was to the adolescents’ identity and life story. At T2, participants completed three items, including “This event has colored the way I think and feel about other experiences,” “I often think about the effects this event will have on my future,” and “This event was a turning point in my life.” Items were scored on a 6-point scale (1 = totally disagree to 6 = totally agree). Internal consistency was good (omega = .89, alpha = .89).

Statistical Analyses

To test the two hypotheses, we used a methodology similar to Johnson and Boals (2015) that examined the relationship between retrospective appraisal of growth and actual or quantifiable changes. First, in order to extract students with high event centrality, we assigned students who rated the centrality of event scale higher than the third quartile (Q3) to the high event centrality group, and the remaining others to the low event centrality group. Second, we calculated correlation coefficients between retrospective appraisal of growth and actual positive change by event centrality groups (hypothesis 1). Finally, we estimated correlation coefficients between growth, rumination, and social support (hypothesis 2). Listwise deletion was used to cope with missing data when analyzing correlations and mean differences.

To test hypothesis 1, we evaluated the overall actual changes and those in five growth domains before and after the high school transition, using C-PTGI. Subtracting the score of T1 from T2 represents changes from T1 to T2 (ΔT21). However, if the changes are calculated using observed variables, it is difficult to evaluate whether the change is genuine, as observed variables generally contains measurement error. That is, scores calculated using observed variables include both true values and measurement errors. Evaluation of unalloyed (pure) change needs to eliminate the measurement error, but previous studies have evaluated actual changes using the change score of observed variables (Frazier et al. 2009; Johnson and Boals 2015).

In order to more adequately evaluate the change during the transition, we used latent difference scores (McArdle and Nesselroade 1994) in the total and subscales of C-PTGI to quantify the changes in growth from T1 to T2. Six models (total and five growth domains) were estimated to assess actual changes. Figure 1 shows a path diagram depicting the model. The latent difference score presents a latent construct regarding difference scores between T1 and T2: Δyt = yt2–yt1 → yt2 = yt1 + Δyt, where yt1 and yt2 are mean of the latent variables at T1 and T2, while Δyt are the latent variable of difference score. In these models, the latent factor at T2 was defined by the latent factor at T1 and the latent difference score factor; latent factors at T1 and T2 were defined by a set of observed variables (Schmiedek et al. 2010). In the overall model, five subscale scores of the C-PTGI were used; in the models of each of the five growth domains, item scores of each domain were used. To render the metric of latent constructs interpretable, factor loadings of the indicators at T1 and T2 were constrained to be equal over time (Takahashi et al. 2013). The path coefficient from latent factor at T1 and latent difference score factor to latent factor at T2 was fixed as 1 (McArdle and Nesselroade 1994).
Fig. 1

Path diagram showing latent difference score model. The LDS represents a latent construct of the difference score. Variables, V1Tn to V3Tn, indicate scores observed at two time points. In overall model, five subscale scores of the C-PTGI (Current standing version of the PTGI) were used. In models of five-growth domains, item scores of each domain were used. The arrows with “a” to “e” indicate coefficients at Time 1 and Time 2, constraining to be equal over time. The path coefficients from Time 1 to Time 2, and from LDS to Time 2 were fixed as 1

There are some merits to use latent difference score model. First, because latent scores do not include measurement error, difference score denotes more accurate changes than using ordinary difference scores that rely on the absolute level of scores. Second, the models were estimated using a full information maximum likelihood estimates procedure, which is a recommended method handling missing data (Arbuckle 1996). Third, we can understand not only mean changes over time but also variance of changes (i.e., inter-individual differences) to estimate parameters of a latent construct regarding the difference score. Fit indices of all latent difference score models (Table 1) were estimated as changes in each of the five growth domains and the total by using the Tucker–Lewis Index (>.92), Comparative Fit Index (>.91), Root Mean Square Error of Approximation (<.09), and Standardized Root Mean Square Residual (<.08).
Table 1

Fit indices of latent difference score model in five growth domains

Model

TLI

CFI

RMSEA

SRMR

Growth total

0.92

0.91

0.09

0.08

Relating to others

0.95

0.97

0.06

0.03

New possibilities

1.00

1.00

0.02

0.02

Personal strength

1.00

1.00

0.00

0.01

Spiritual change

1.00

0.99

0.03

0.02

Appreciation of life

1.00

1.00

0.00

0.01

TLI Tucker–Lewis Index, CFI Comparative Fit Index, RMSEA Root Mean Square Error of Approximation, SRMR Standardized Root Mean Square Residual

Results

Preliminary Analysis

First, we aimed to determine whether current recognition of growth (measured by C-PTGI) and retrospective appraisal of growth (measured by PTGI-C-R) are independent structures, respectively, as the items and subscales included two scales that are highly overlapping. We ran confirmatory factor analyses to compare a one-factor model comprising all subscales of the current recognition of growth and the retrospective appraisal of growth at T2 and a two-factor model with the two scales separated. Akaike Information Criteria (AIC) supported the two-factor model. The AIC was 501.89 for the one-factor model and 309.82 for the two-factor model; suggesting that students treated the two scales as unique scales and did not confuse the scales with one another.

Means and standard deviations of retrospective growth and the actual change for growth are shown in Tables 2 and 3. On average, changes in growth from T1 to T2 were close to zero (i.e., mean differences were not significant) except for the personal strength domain; however, the mean variance was significant in all growth domains (z = 2.73–7.39, ps < .01). This suggests that there were individual differences in the degree of changes. Although there were no noticeable changes in the mean difference scores, a subset of students exhibited a large change. Figures depicting individual changes from T1 to T2 were shown in Appendix.
Table 2

Retrospective growth scores at Time 2

Growth domain

Retrospective scores

M

SD

Growth total

23.14

5.78

Relating to others

4.72

1.35

New possibilities

4.90

1.32

Personal strength

4.74

1.34

Spiritual change

3.84

1.54

Appreciation of life

4.91

1.33

Retrospective scores were calculated using the total and subscale scores of the Japanese version of Revised Posttraumatic Growth Inventory for Children (PTGI-C-R) at T2. Growth total score ranged from 10 to 40 and five domain scores ranged from 2 to 8

M mean, SD standard deviation

Table 3

Estimated latent difference scores from Time 1 to Time 2 in the Current standing version of the Posttraumatic Growth Inventory

Growth domain

M

z M

SD

z SD

Growth total

0.03

0.37

0.86

7.39*

Relating to others

−0.04

1.12

0.19

2.73**

New possibilities

−0.02

−0.47

0.39

4.97*

Personal strength

0.09

2.42***

0.27

4.35*

Spiritual change

0.04

1.16

0.42

5.20*

Appreciation of life

0.01

0.13

0.31

4.43*

Note: M mean (i.e., fix effects), SD standard deviation (i.e., random effects), z M z value for mean, z SD z value for standard deviation

*p < .001; **p < .01; ***p < .05

Correlation between Retrospective Growth and Difference Scores for Growth

We tested the hypothesis 1, the relationship between retrospective growth and latent changes in growth. Following the methodology of Johnson and Boals (2015), we divided adolescents into two groups. Those who scored above the third quartile on the centrality of event scale (Q3 = 12.00, Median = 10.00) were defined as the high event centrality group (i.e., Mean ≥ 12.00, n = 81, coded as 1), indicating that they perceived the transition from middle to high school as a turning point of their lives or identity. The remaining students were defined as the low event centrality group (i.e., Mean < 12.00, n = 181, coded as 0). In order to examine whether the effects of event centrality demonstrated in Johnson and Boals (2015) were replicated in our study, partial correlations between retrospective growth and actual positive change were estimated for the total and five growth domains by partialling out the latent domain scores at T1. We showed partial correlations to remove the effects of the score at T1. As shown in Table 4, total retrospective growth was positively correlated with the actual positive change (partial r = .38, p < .01) only in the high event centrality group. Four of the five growth domains, with the exception of spiritual change, had a positive association between retrospective growth and actual change (partial rs = .22–.48, p < .05), supporting our first hypothesis. Regarding these results, statistical power analysis conducted using G*Power (Faul et al. 2009) confirmed that the present research had enough power (.80) to detect a medium effect (r = .30; Cohen 1992).
Table 4

Correlations between retrospective growth and latent difference scores for growth (hypothesis 1)

Growth domain

High event centrality groupa

Low event centrality groupb

Partial r

Zero-order r

Partial r

Zero-oder r

Growth total

.38*

−.04

.14

.00

Relating to others

.26*

.05

.21*

.12

New possibilities

.48**

.11

.14

−.06

Personal strength

.38**

−.02

.07

.06

Spiritual change

.02

.16

−.16

.07

Appreciation of life

.22***

.04

.13

.02

Note: Partial correlations between retrospective score and latent difference score for growth were estimated for the total and five growth domains by partialling out the latent domain scores at T1 (e.g., for growth total, correlation is the partial correlation between retrospective scores and latent difference scores, after partialling out the latent score for the growth total at T1)

*p < .01; **p < .001; ***p < .05

an = 81

bn  = 181

As supplementary findings, partial correlations between event centrality total score and actual change in growth domains, partialling out the latent domain score at T1 showed positive associations in growth total (r = .32, p < .001), relating to others (r = .21, p < .01), new possibilities (r = .29, p < .001), personal strength (r = .20, p < .01), spiritual change (r = .12, p = .055), and appreciation of life (r = .24, p < .001). Welch’s t test demonstrated that those in high event centrality group perceived higher retrospective growth in total and five domains than those in low event centrality group (t = 2.25–6.01, Cohen’s d = .30–.80, ps < .05). Analysis of covariance and the post hoc test partialled out the latent domain score at T1 showed that high event centrality group was positively changed from T1 to T2 with the exception of spiritual change domain than low event centrality group (Overall F = 99.09–34.76, main effects of event centrality group: ηp2 = .24–.86, ps < . 05).

Relationship with Rumination and Social Support

To test hypothesis 2, we examined whether retrospective growth and actual change had similar associations with intrusive rumination (M = 8.20, SD = 3.38), deliberate rumination (M = 8.46, SD = 3.37), and social support (M = 18.96, SD = 2.61).2Table 5 presents the correlations for those with high event centrality scores. Retrospective growth total scores and spiritual change were positively correlated with intrusive rumination; however, not all actual changes in growth domains show a consistent relationship with intrusive rumination. All five domains of retrospective growth were positively correlated with deliberate rumination, whereas only the total difference score for growth and the domain of new possibilities were positively correlated with deliberate rumination. Total retrospective growth and actual positive change showed positive associations with social support; however, four of the five domains in retrospective growth were positively correlated with social support, whereas actual changes were positively correlated with social support in only two of the five growth domains. Statistical power was adequate (.80) as with analyses of hypothesis 1.
Table 5

Correlations between rumination, social support and growth domains among those in students with high event centrality (hypothesis 2)

Growth domain

 

Intrusive ruminationa

Deliberate ruminationb

Social supportc

Growth total

Retrospective

.25*

.53**

.43**

Difference

.00

.22*

.31***

Relating to others

Retrospective

.13

.37***

.39**

Difference

−0.04

−0.02

.23*

New possibilities

Retrospective

.19

.46**

.40**

Difference

.11

.32***

.30***

Personal strength

Retrospective

06

.31***

.38**

Difference

.01

.19

.17

Spiritual change

Retrospective

.38**

.46**

.14

Difference

−0.03

.00

−0.07

Appreciation of life

Retrospective

.14

.44**

.44**

Difference

−0.10

.04

.18

Note: n = 81. Zero-order correlations with retrospective growth were estimated. Partial correlations with latent difference score for growth were estimated by partialling out the latent domain scores at T1 (e.g., for growth total, correlation is the partial correlation between latent difference scores and intrusive rumination, after partialling out the latent score for the growth total at T1). Score for intrusive rumination ranged from 3 to 17. Score for deliberate rumination ranged from 3 to 16. Score for social support ranged from 10 to 26

Retrospective = retrospective growth. Difference = latent difference scores in growth

*p < .05; **p < .001; ***p < .01

aM = 8.13, SD  = 3.39

bM = 8.41, SD = 3.38

cM = 18.95, SD = 2.60

Sensitive Analyses regarding hypothesis 2

As shown in Table 3, the distribution of difference score for growth was rather small, indicating minor variability in changes from T1 to T2. This may be the reason why hypothesis 2 was partly supported. Results may reflect the characteristics of adolescents who have experienced fewer changes rather than those who have experienced obvious growth. Therefore, we examined the characteristics of those who reported a great degree of positive change after the transition, as an additional test. Adolescents above the third quartile of event centrality scores and difference score for growth were categorized as those who experienced salient growth (the “growth group”, coded as 1). Remaining participants were categorized as the “other group (coded as 0).” The number of students in each group are shown in the footnote of Table 6. We hypothesized that those in the growth group would meet the characteristics shown in a posttraumatic growth theoretical model; therefore, scores on intrusive rumination, deliberate rumination, and social support would be higher in the growth group than the other group. A multivariate analysis of variance and post hoc test was conducted with the groups as independent variables and intrusive rumination, deliberate rumination, and social support as dependent variables (Pillai’s trace = .04–.21, Overall F = 3.60–22.72, ps < .05). As Table 6 presents, the growth group overall show higher scores for intrusive rumination, deliberate rumination, and social support than the other group. In the “relating to others” domain, we observed no inter-group differences in deliberate rumination or social support. In the “personal strength” domain, we observed no inter-group differences in social support. Our hypothesis was supported in all other cases.
Table 6

Post-hoc comparison between the growth group and the other group in intrusive rumination, deliberate rumination, and social support (hypothesis 2)

Growth domain

Dependent variable

Growth group

Other group

t (df = 260)

Cohen’s d

  

M

SD

M

SD

  

Growth totala

Intrusive

10.57

3.37

8.00

3.31

3.42

0.78*

Deliberate

10.33

3.54

8.27

3.31

2.72

0.62*

Support

20.29

3.10

18.84

2.53

2.46

0.56**

Relating to othersb

Intrusive

10.05

3.70

8.03

3.30

2.71

0.60*

Deliberate

9.27

4.01

8.36

3.31

1.22

0.27

Support

19.82

3.06

18.88

2.55

1.62

0.36

New possibilitiesc

Intrusive

10.22

3.31

7.30

3.00

7.05

0.94***

Deliberate

10.44

3.28

7.54

3.01

7.03

0.94***

Support

19.79

2.82

18.59

2.42

3.53

0.47***

Personal strengthd

Intrusive

10.48

3.43

8.00

3.31

3.28

0.74*

Deliberate

10.10

2.84

8.29

3.38

2.37

0.54**

Support

19.29

3.07

18.93

2.57

0.60

0.14

Spiritual changee

Intrusive

10.65

2.89

7.97

3.33

3.73

0.81***

Deliberate

10.52

2.79

8.23

3.36

3.16

0.69*

Support

20.04

3.17

18.85

2.53

2.11

0.46**

Appreciation of lifef

Intrusive

10.90

3.58

7.98

3.27

3.81

0.88***

Deliberate

10.35

4.18

8.28

3.26

2.67

0.62*

Support

20.15

2.76

18.86

2.57

2.14

0.50**

Note: Overall F values were 5.65 for growth total (p < .001), 3.85 for relating to others (p < .05), 22.72 for new possibilities (p < .001), 3.60 for personal strength (p < .05), 5.88 for spiritual change (p < .001), and 6.21 for appreciation of life (p < .001)

Intrusive intrusive rumination, deliberate deliberate rumination, Support social support

*p  < .01; **p  < .05; ***p  < .001

aGrowth group: n  = 21, Other group: n  = 241

bGrowth group: n  = 22, Other group: n  = 240

cGrowth group: n  = 81, Other group: n  = 181

dGrowth group: n  = 21, Other group: n  = 241

eGrowth group: n  = 23, Other group: n  = 239

fGrowth group: n  = 20, Other group: n  = 242

Discussion

The transition to high school can be a stressful turning point that could change adolescents’ developmental trajectories. The direction of trajectory differs among students. Some students experience a negative change (Benner et al. 2017), some students maintain stability (Witherspoon and Ennett, 2011), and others may experience personal growth, as the current study showed. Any pattern of change through high school transition is an important topic to understand the relationship between youth development and the transition. Nevertheless, the characteristics of students’ growth are, surprisingly, understudied. Studies that explained the positive development after a stressful experience have pointed out that the concept of growth has two properties (Frazier et al. 2009). One aspect was to recall own experiences retrospectively after an event and evaluate the degree of their positive change (Tedeschi and Calhoun 1996); another aspect was to evaluate the actual positive change (i.e., difference score) before and after the event (Jayawickreme and Blackie 2014). We elaborated on the concept of post-transition growth by demonstrating how retrospective growth after the transition from middle to high school is associated with measured changes in growth at two time points.

The three main findings were obtained from this study. First, retrospective growth is positively correlated with increased perceptions in growth domains from pre- to post-transition only when the transition is considered as a turning point for adolescents’ lives or identities. Second, retrospective growth is positively associated with deliberate rumination and social support overall; however, positive relationships were observed only in one of the five domains (new possibilities) of prospective changes. Third, adolescents who experienced substantial changes in growth reported higher intrusive and deliberate rumination and social support than other adolescents. These results suggest that changes in growth from middle school to high school are likely to correlate with retrospective assessment of growth. The current study therefore indicates that retrospective appraisal of growth is more likely to reflect actual changes in growth rather than an illusory bias, provided that adolescents perceive the transition as a significant turning point of their lives.

Retrospective Growth related to Positive Changes

Hypothesis 1 was generally supported. Retrospective appraisals and changes during the transition were positively correlated with chronological changes in total growth, relating to others, new possibilities, personal strength, and appreciation of life, if adolescents considered the transition to high school as a turning point for their lives. To date, the literature has emphasized the negative aspects of the transition, such as disrupting students’ psychological functions (Benner 2011); nevertheless, the present findings suggest a contrasting aspect—the transition to high school can be a positive turning point that makes adolescents experience personal growth. This is neither new nor surprising, because available research has suggested that there may be an improvement in psychological functions, such as one’s relationships, in the transition (Isakson and Jarvis 1999).

Consistent with Johnson and Boals (2015), the degree of event centrality played a key role in the relationship between retrospective appraisal of growth and changes in growth through the transition. An event that is highly central to an individual “forms a personal reference point for the attribution of meaning to other events, a salient turning point in the life story, and a central component of a person’s identity and self-understanding” (Berntsen and Rubin 2006 p. 223). Greater centrality is related to the accessibility of autobiographical memory (Berntsen and Rubin 2006). Therefore, if events are not important to an adolescent, retrospective appraisal as part of growth will contain a significant number of attributional errors (Johnson and Boals 2015). The degree of positive changes that adolescents retrospectively appraise might not be an accurate evaluation and might lead to an illusion of positive changes.

The current study supported the hypothesized positive relationships between retrospective growth and prospective changes in growth; however, the spiritual change domain was an exception. As Taku and colleagues (2007) have pointed out, in general, young people in Japan have not shown an obvious religious commitment. Such a context may be the reason why Japanese adolescents were not likely to report spiritual change. The type of event we investigated may be another reason for the current results. As a previous study indicated (Taku et al. 2007), Japanese undergraduate students who suffered a bereavement did experience a greater spiritual change. Compared with bereavement, Japanese adolescents may consider the transition from middle school to high school a less spiritual event and not a typical “seismic” event that is likely to bring a positive change in spirituality or religiosity.

Association with Variables related to Growth

We hypothesized that retrospective growth and changes in growth have positive associations with rumination and social support. As Table 2 shows, the current study found that retrospective growth and measured changes in growth have different relationships with the two styles of rumination and with social support. Retrospective growth was related to higher levels of deliberate rumination and support, consistent with findings about adolescent growth (Meyerson et al. 2011), whereas latent difference scores for growth were unrelated to deliberate rumination or social support. It may be because that evaluating growth based on the difference scores can present a wide range of possible changes in the positive and negative directions. In other words, although the difference scores can be assessed negative changes, the Posttraumatic Growth Inventory can only evaluate positive changes. These differences may have caused weak correlations between difference scores and rumination, and social support. However, it is noteworthy that measured positive changes show a similar pattern to retrospective growth when focusing on adolescents who experienced obvious positive changes. These adolescents reported higher levels of two types of rumination and support, suggesting that they were likely to experience the cognitive processes suggested in the posttraumatic growth theoretical model (Kilmer et al. 2014). Although there is no consensus as to how real growth or illusory growth should be defined, the current study proposes that those who show large difference scores and significant correlations between the differences scores with rumination and support, might experience real growth.

The associations between retrospective growth and changes in growth were stronger in our sample than in previous findings for adult samples (Johnson and Boals 2015). As Robins et al. (2005) pointed out, younger people have more opportunities for psychological changes than older people, because they are in the process of rapid development.

Hypothesis 2 was partially supported; interestingly, several growth domains such as relating to others and personal strength did not show the expected results. For example, we found no statistical mean differences between the growth group and the other group for deliberate rumination and support in the “relating to others” domain. According to Cohen’s criteria (1992), effect sizes were not small (Cohen’s d = 0.27 and 0.36, respectively); this may be due to the unbalanced sample size. Another reason may be the length of time between the two surveys. Adolescents participated in the second survey about two months after the transition to high school, when they began to build new relationships with classmates and teachers. Adolescents at this time may not be in conditions that force them to ruminate deliberately about the meaning of the transition or to seek social support.

Intrusive rumination was related to growth during the transition more strongly than deliberate rumination or support. Unlike the current study, previous studies found improvement in social support after the transition to high school (Isakson and Jarvis 1999), which may be due to the length of time between the two surveys. If we had conducted the second survey at a later period, we might have observed different results. The same time factor might also have led to the unexpected results in the relationships between personal strength and social support.

Limitations, Strengths, and Future Directions

Our findings include several limitations that should be considered. First, it is unknown why the transition to high school became a salient turning point for some students, but not for everyone. If such individual differences were identified, we might be able to predict more accurately whether adolescents would experience personal growth during the transition. For instance, in the second-born adolescents, transition to high school may not be a salient turning point when compared with the first-born adolescents who experience high school first. This is because the second-born adolescents have already understood the nature of the transition (i.e., as a period of intense change and reorganization) through interaction with their older sibling and other family (Everri 2014). Second, this study grouped students above the third quartile on event centrality and in latent difference scores for growth as those who experienced quantifiable growth from pre- to post-transition. Unbalanced sample size (i.e., majority of teens did not perceive transition as a significant turning point) could be an issue, although makes sense. In addition, we have no definition of how much positive change needs to occur to be considered as obvious growth. As we demonstrated in the additional analysis about hypothesis 2, we suggest a little change in growth should not be considered as obvious growth, because many adolescents experience a few changes, yet they did not show the expected relationships with rumination or social support. Third, we need to examine whether the same findings might be observed in adolescents in Western countries, as our findings are based on a limited sample of Japanese adolescents. Growth might be affected by cultural backgrounds such as educational system (e.g., timing of the transition and school climate), and cross-cultural investigation is important to clarify the relationship between school transition and students’ recognition of own personal growth. Fourth, some of the inventories showed a limited number of items or relatively low reliability so that more constructed and reliable measures should be used. Fifth, our sampling strategy that recruited students from throughout Japan, including urban and suburban areas, contributed to showing the average results at a national level. However, as previous studies on rural youths’ school transition have shown (Witherspoon and Ennett 2011), the impact of transition may be different in specific areas. Finally, as previous research (Gunty et al. 2011) pointed out, measured changes were also evaluated by a self-report measure rather than an objective measure of change. Though subjective evaluation seems to be criticized at first glance, “using change on a self-report measure to assess actual change is the norm in many areas of psychological inquiry, including clinical trials assessing psychotherapeutic and psychopharmacologic interventions, and has several advantages over the use of observer ratings” (Gunty et al. 2011 p. 65).

Despite these limitations, this is the first study that has explored the characteristics of growth following the transition from middle school to high school. The methodology we employed (assessing latent difference score in growth and using criteria for obvious growth) provides a basis for improving the methodology for growth research among adolescents. Although prior research evaluated actual changes by using the differences of observed scores in two time points, it was impossible to accurately evaluate how much actual (true) changes were reflected because observed scores included measurement errors. In contrast, this study reported not only appropriate changes in true values but also variance in changes by using the latent different score model. Intuitively, the interval of the two measures (i.e., two months) may seem short for such changes to occur. However, as significant variance was observed in change scores, it is certain that there were some adolescents who began to undergo meaningful changes in this period. Although future investigation should consider whether the changes are temporary or stable, the present study provided evidence from the very moment of a transition affecting the adolescent’s developmental trajectory. Finally, to our best knowledge, the present study is the first that examined adolescents’ positive development after high school transition from the perspective of posttraumatic growth theory. The process of growth accompanying intrusive and deliberate rumination may be similar to the process of identity development including confusion, reconsideration and exploration of commitment, and synthesis (Hatano et al. 2017). In addition, the importance of the five growth domains can be understood in the larger literature on adolescent development. For example, the domain in relating to others may link with research on supportive (Benner et al. 2017) and intimate relationships (Klimstra et al. 2013) and empathic abilities; new possibilities may be related to findings about hope (Tsuzuki 2012) and identity development (Albarello et al. 2017); personal strength may be associated with conscientiousness (Bleidorn 2012) and self-esteem; spiritual change may be relevant to self-worth (Ryan et al. 2013) and identity development; appreciation of life may be linked with the study of prosocial behavior (Van der Graaff et al. 2017) and school belongingness (Wang and Eccles 2012). Ultimately, we may be able to say that positive development changes in the five growth domains reflect social-cognitive positive development during adolescence.

Will the educational policy to eliminate school transition support adolescents’ positive development? As reviewed in the introduction section on high school transition in Japan, Japanese educational policy may be overvaluing the risk of transitioning to high school. Through this study, we hope that educational policy will be reconsidered to promote positive development of adolescents. Future research should also continue to explore the desirable properties of post-transition growth from the perspective of school achievement (e.g., grade point average) and pre-transition resources (e.g., social support).

Conclusions

This study promoted further understanding of the relationship between adolescent development and high school transition by elaborating the concept of growth following the school transition. More specifically, students’ retrospective appraisal of growth after the transition reflected actual positive changes right before and right after transition, if students recognized their experience of school transition as a significant turning point of their life or identity. In addition, we demonstrated that rumination that refers to cognitive struggle with new school environments may foster students’ positive change. Further, consistent with previous studies, our results confirmed that perceived social support after the transition related to positive development. We have opened the door to discuss the characteristics of students who grow following the stressful transition to high school.

Footnotes

  1. 1.

    The total score of retrospective appraisal of growth at T1 for dropouts was 24.79 (SD = 5.21) and for those who did not was 24.87 (SD = 4.98), t(63.73) = −0.09, Cohen’s d = −0.02, p = .927; relating to others score at T1 for those who dropped out was 5.79 (SD = 1.35) and for those who did not was 5.68 (SD = 1.22), t(61.91) = 0.52, Cohen’s d = 0.09, p = .606; new possibilities score at T1 for those who dropped out was 4.90 (SD = 1.38) and for those who did not was 5.02 (SD = 1.30), t(63.36) = −0.17, Cohen’s d = −0.03, p = .867; personal strength score at T1 for those who dropped out was 4.83 (SD = 1.40) and for those who did not was 4.81 (SD = 1.22), t(60.76) = 0.11, Cohen’s d = 0.02, p = .911; spiritual change score at T1 for those who dropped out was 3.67 (SD = 1.39) and for those who did not was 3.96 (SD = 1.52), t(69.43) = −1.32, Cohen’s d = −0.19, p = .193; appreciation of life score at T1 for those who dropped out was 5.53 (SD = 1.34) and for those who did not was 5.40 (SD = 1.22), t(62.20) = 0.58, Cohen’s d = 0.10, p = .564.

  2. 2.

    Social support was higher in girls than boys (mean difference = 0.68, t (259.67) = 2.13, Cohen’s d = .26, p < .05). There were no gender differences in intrusive rumination (t(255.84) = 0.61, p = .543), deliberate rumination (t(257.54) = 0.60, p = .548), event centrality (t(258.43) = 1.10, p = .272), the total and subscales of retrospective growth (ts(258.15–259.98) = −1.09 to 0.08, p > .10), or the total and subscales of actual changes (ts(250.29–259.88) = −1.30 to 1.61, p > .10).

Notes

Acknowledgements

This study was supported by Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research in Japan (Grant Numbers JP16J01937). The grants provide financial support for creative and pioneering research projects that will become the foundation of social development.

Authors’ Contributions

S.I. conceived of the study, participated in its design and coordination, performed the statistical analyses, and drafted the manuscript; K.T. conceived of the study, participated in its design and coordination, and assisted in drafting the manuscript; all authors have read and approved the final manuscript.

Funding

This study was funded by Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research in Japan (Grant Numbers JP16J01937) to the first author.

Data Sharing Declaration

The datasets generated and/or analyzed during the current study are not publicly available, but can be obtained from the corresponding author on request only after this research project (Adolescent Development during Transition to High School Project) is complete.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

This study was approved by the institutional review board of Chuo University (approval number: 2017-4).

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained, on an online form, from all participants.

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyChuo UniversityTokyoJapan
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyOakland UniversityRochesterUSA

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