A Person-Centered Investigation of Adolescent Psychosocial and Academic Adjustment: the Role of Peer Attachment and Zhong-Yong Thinking

Abstract

To gain a comprehensive understanding of adolescent psychological, social, and academic functioning, we employ a variety of positive and negative indicators (indexed by subjective well-being, problem behavior, prosocial behavior, and academic achievement) to explore adolescent adjustment profiles. Furthermore, we investigate the direct and interactive associations of peer attachment and Zhong-Yong thinking (i.e., Doctrine of the Mean) with these emerging adjustment profiles. A sample of 1759 Chinese adolescents (M age = 12.61, SD = 1.50; 51.1% girls) was involved in the present research. Adolescents were uniformly instructed to complete a battery of self-report questionnaires during public school hours, and their academic achievement was measured by self-report grades in mathematics, Chinese, and English. The results of a latent profile analysis showed four adjustment profiles: adaptive, irresponsive, maladaptive, and ambivalent. Moreover, the results of a multiple multinomial analysis showed that adolescents with secure peer attachment and high levels of Zhong-Yong thinking were likely to be the memberships of the adaptive profile. In addition, interaction analysis revealed that in the context of peer attachment security, adolescents with low (instead of high) levels of Zhong-Yong thinking were more likely to be the memberships of the adaptive profile than the ambivalent profile; by contrast, in the context of peer attachment insecurity, adolescents with high levels of Zhong-Yong thinking were more likely to be the memberships of the adaptive profile than the ambivalent profile. The current study expands prior research by presenting a comprehensive and person-centered view of adolescent adjustment patterns. Moreover, the study is pioneering in examining the direct and interactive associations of peer attachment and Zhong-Yong thinking with adolescent adjustment profiles, highlighting the compensatory interplay of these variables on adolescent adaptive functioning.

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Funding

This study was supported by Research on Northwest Adolescent Education and Development (Northwest Minzu University, Project ID. 1110130135) and the General Project of Education and Teaching Reform Research (Northwest Minzu University, Project No. 2020YBJG-23).

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Lan, X., Ma, C. & Ma, Y. A Person-Centered Investigation of Adolescent Psychosocial and Academic Adjustment: the Role of Peer Attachment and Zhong-Yong Thinking. Child Ind Res (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12187-021-09807-2

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Keywords

  • Adjustment
  • Peer attachment
  • Zhong-Yong thinking
  • Person-centered approach
  • Chinese adolescents