Understanding the Relations among School Misbehavior, Academic Success, School Bonding, and Alcohol Use



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Existing research has shown that alcohol use, school misbehavior, school bonding, and academic performance are related to each other in numerous, complex ways. However, few studies used data from a nationally representative sample, considered mediating mechanisms, or accounted for measurement error during examinations of the relations among these constructs. This study used data from the 2008 Monitoring the Future study, a representative national sample of 3,389 10th Graders in the U.S. Drawing on social development model theory (e.g., Hawkins, 1985); a mediated structural equation model was developed and tested. Specifically, it was hypothesized that the association of academic achievement with school misbehavior and alcohol use will be (partially or fully) mediated by school bonding. Both model variants were tested controlling for mother’s education level, youth gender, and youth race/ethnicity. The findings of this study suggest that school bonding significantly mediates the relations of academic achievement to school misbehavior and alcohol use. Based on these findings, when developing programs to decrease at-risk behaviors and school misbehavior, educators should not only consider academic interventions, but should also develop a culture in school which allows students to develop positive attitudes and interactions in an educational setting.



Structural Equation Modeling, Adolescents, Alcohol use, School bonding, Academic Success, School Misbehavior