Caring teens 'more academically engaged'

Teenagers who feel responsibility towards their parents are more likely to remain engaged in the classroom and often perform better in school. This is according to a longitudinal study that considered students from both the US and China and has been published in the journal Child Development.

Research was carried out at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Beijing Normal University and the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Children were asked to fill out a number of questionnaires over a two-year period and it showed those who had greater feelings of obligation to their mother and father and were motivated to please them invested more effort in their school work.

Eva Pomerantz, Professor of Psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, said: "The findings suggest that parents need to communicate to teenagers the importance of acting responsibly as they enter middle school."

Chartered Psychologist Peter Sharp said: "Young people with secure attachments to parents are far more likely to do well at school, in forming relationships, in succeeding at University and getting and progressing at work."

"This recent international study provides further evidence of what has been shown elsewhere and highlights the element of 'responsibility', which combines with other influencers such as parental expectation and support and the value they place on education."

"One implication of the finding is that parents need affirmation and in some cases support and training to inject what is known to be the 'fuel of success' for their children."

Dr Eddie Edgerton, an Environmental Psychologist from the University of the West of Scotland, recently presented research at the British Psychological Society's Annual Conference in Glasgow that suggested better school buildings can help to improve pupil behaviour and learning.