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Tetzner, Julia; Becker, Michael:

Why are you so optimistic? Effects of sociodemographic factors, individual experiences and peer characteristics on optimism in early adolescents

In: Journal of Personality, 87 (2019) 3 , 661-675

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Englisch/ Deutsch

Document type
3a. Beiträge in begutachteten Zeitschriften; Aufsatz (keine besondere Kategorie)

Emotionaler Zustand, Freude, Jugendlicher, Schüler, Schuljahr 07, Sozioökonomische Lage, Eltern, Einflussfaktor, Peergroup, Schüler-Schüler-Beziehung, Akzeptanz, Persönlichkeitsmerkmal, Wohlbefinden, Einstellung (Psy), Verhalten, Lernerfolg, Kognitive Kompetenz, Leistungstest, Längsschnittuntersuchung, Deutschland

Objective: Although a growing body of research has confirmed the manifold advantages of being an optimist, only a limited body of previous research has addressed the antecedents of optimism in reallife situations. This study examined whether parental socioeconomic status (SES), agesalient experiences (i.e., doing well in school and perceiving acceptance from peers), and aspects of the student composition at school contribute to changes in the optimism of early adolescents. Method: We followed a large sample of German seventh graders (N = 7,272; 2.9% females; baseline Mage = 14.1) at two measurement points over a period of 5 months and estimated latent regression models. Results: First, optimism showed mediumsized rankorder stability between both measurement points. Second, parental SES predicted changes in optimism, but this effect was fully mediated by agesalient experiences. Third, positive agesalient experiences (i.e., academic achievement and perceived peer acceptance) predicted positive changes in early adolescents' optimism. Fourth, our results suggested no effects of school peer composition. Conclusions: The findings broaden our current knowledge about antecedents of changes in optimism during early adolescence by highlighting the effects of positive agesalient experiences, namely, academic achievement and perceived acceptance from peers. (DIPF/Orig.)

Educational Structure and Governance