Family Stress and School Adjustment:
Predictors Across the School Years

Roz Murray-Harvey
Phillip Slee

The results presented here are findings from one of our studies into stress in children and their families.


The 207 Australian families in the study were randomly selected from 13 participating schools. The interview data yielded demographic information along with details regarding stressful life events and psychological well-being for both adults and children. The teachers of the children completed a range of questions relating to the children's adjustment to school. Children were interviewed regarding stressful life events, attitude to school and coping with stress.

Summary Results of the Study

A focus of the study concerned teachers' perceptions of children's adjustment to school. Teachers regard approximately 70 per cent of students as adjusted/very well adjusted while approximately 5% are rated as poorly/very poorly adjusted.

Predictors of poor adjustment at the Primary school level were:

Predictors of poor adjustment at the Secondary school level were:

You can find the full version of this paper in:
Murray-Harvey, R. & Slee, P. T. (1998). Family stress and school adjustment: Predictors across the school years. Early Child Development and Care, 145, 133-149.