Longitudinal Effects of Student Mobility on Three Dimensions of Elementary School Engagement


  • This study was supported by a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (DA08093-13). The Raising Healthy Children project was conducted by the Social Development Research Group, which is part of the University of Washington School of Social Work. The authors gratefully acknowledge the staff, families, and students of Edmonds School District No. 15 for their support and cooperation. The lead author would also like to thank Susan Nolen and her colleagues in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Washington.

concerning this article should be addressed to Diana H. Gruman, Department of Psychology, Western Washington University, 516 High Street, Bellingham, WA 98225-9089. Electronic mail may be sent to diana.gruman@wwu.edu.


Working within the developmental science research framework, this study sought to capture a dynamic and complex view of student mobility. Second- through fifth-grade data (N = 1,003, predominantly Caucasian) were drawn from a longitudinal study, and growth curve analyses allowed for the examination of mobility effects within the context of other factors that put children at risk, including behavior problems and family stress. School changes predicted declines in academic performance and classroom participation but not positive attitude toward school. Time-varying factors such as peer acceptance and teacher support had a positive influence on the growth trajectories of child outcomes. Additionally, teacher support had a particularly strong influence on positive attitudes toward school among children who had more school changes.