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TU Berlin

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FridA – Friends and Activities

Social integration and an active lifestyle play an important part in the healthy psychological and physical adjustment throughout childhood and adolescence. In contrast, girls and boys who report of poor social integration and a sedative life style often report of low psychosocial adjustment (e.g., depression), poor body image and other negative correlates (e.g., unhealthy eating habits) (Smolak & Thompson, 2001). However, there is little evidence concerning these associations in relation to school adjustment. The main focus of this study is to examine the association between psychosocial adjustment (loneliness, alienation, social inclusion/exclusion, peer pressure), activities, body image (especially negative perceptions of oneself) and school adjustment throughout early adolescence. The main goal is it to identify risk factors (health as well as psycho-social related aspects), which interfere with learning processes and to develop preventive and interventive strategies in terms of health and psycho-social aspects to optimize learning processes.
Early adolescence is a vital age period to examine these associations due to the beginning puberty during this developmental phase. Boys and girls experience enormous changes in their physical and also emotional disposition but most teachers are not fully prepared to address the changing needs of their students. In this collaborative project with the Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, one of the questions we will examine whether early adolescents, who have a negative self concept and are less-satisfied with their physical self-feel are less-liked and more excluded (friends, peers) than adolescents, who do not report of low body satisfaction. More importantly, we will establish links to the described associations and learning processes and outcomes. The results will shed light on association of lifestyle, body image, eating habits and learning and provide vital information for teachers who interact with this age group on a daily basis in schools
The sample is focussed on 4th, 5th and 6th grade in 4 or 6 Berlin/Brandenburg mix-gendered Schools (N = 500-600). Data collection includes 1) standardized questionnaires, which will be given out in the beginning and at the end of the data collection period and 2) a health diary which will be given out once a week. We will collect data at 4 different measurement points during a period of 4 weeks. Students will be given a standardized questionnaire in week 1. It will take students approximately 45 minutes to complete the questionnaire. Furthermore they will receive a health diary, which we explain at the time of data collection. In week 2-4 students will be asked to fill out the diary booklet one day of a week. It will take students approximately 10-15 minutes to complete the diary. In week 4 students will again fill out a standardized questionnaire for about 45 minutes. Research assistants from our team will be present at all times of data collection to facilitate organisation of the research process and to answer any questions.

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