The Developmental Outcome of Taiwanese Youth: Effects of Educational Tracking During Adolescence

  • Chin-Chun YiEmail author
  • Gang-Hua Fan
  • Ming-Yi Chang
Part of the Quality of Life in Asia book series (QLAS, volume 2)


Using panel data from the Taiwan Youth Project, this chapter investigates the association between educational tracking and the psychological well-being of youth from early adolescence to young adulthood. While adolescents’ mental health has been documented to be closely associated with educational performance, in a competitive educational system in East Asia, especially in Taiwan, tracking may have a more significant impact on mental health. We propose that the examinations for entrance to high school and college, along with the consequent general versus vocational tracking, are the structural bases. Results show that changes of the depressive growth curve correspond to the timing of entrance examinations, with five fluctuations. Students in the vocational track reveal better mental health before age 19 due to less involvement in educational competition, while students in the general track consistently report more depressive symptoms until age 20, when their human capital pays off by having better credentials in the job market competition. Among the four groups, vocational high graduates are the least resourceful group, with the highest depression on average. Hence, when studying the psychological well-being of East Asian youth, both the effect of educational competition and the tracking effect embedded in the educational system need to be considered.


Depressive Symptom Parental Involvement Educational Aspiration Latent Growth Curve Model Educational Track 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of SociologyAcademia SinicaTaipeiTaiwan
  2. 2.Department of Social PsychologyShih-Hsin UniversityTaipeiTaiwan, ROC
  3. 3.Department of SociologyGroningen UniversityGroningenThe Netherlands

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