The importance of promoting well-being in schools has been increasingly emphasized. A recent longitudinal study published in School Psychology investigated the relationships between academic achievement, self-esteem, and subjective well-being across time among elementary school students in China.
Participating students, who were from Grades 3, 4, and 5, were randomly selected from classes in two elementary schools in a city in Southern China. The study assessed students’ academic achievement, self-esteem, and subjective well-being three times, at intervals of six months. A cohort of 807 students participated in the first assessment, 790 in the second and 792 in the third. The findings showed that:
- Academic achievement positively predicted later subjective well-being in school.
- In particular, the study identified that elementary school students with better academic achievement reported a higher level of self-esteem, which later contributed to a higher level of subjective well-being in schools.
- However, unexpectedly, neither well-being nor self-esteem could predict later academic achievement in school. The authors suggested that this might be because the measures for academic achievement were not sensitive enough, or it might relate to Chinese cultural features.
The authors suggested that for schools that devoted effort to promoting students’ subjective well-being, it was also important that they support positive academic achievement.
Source: Yang, Q., Tian, L., Huebner, E. S., & Zhu, X. (2019). Relations among academic achievement, self-esteem, and subjective well-being in school among elementary school students: A longitudinal mediation model. School Psychology, 34(3), 328.