The Influence of Student Perceptions of School Climate on Socioemotional and Academic Adjustment: A Comparison of Chinese and American Adolescents


  • This study was funded by the Cultivation Fund of the Key Scientific and Technical Innovation Project (704025); the Program of Introducing Talents of Discipline to Universities (B08024) of the Ministry of Education, P. R. China; The Office of Global Programs (2005–2006) and the Institute for Human Development and Social Change (2006–2007) at New York University; The Special Opportunity Fund (2009) at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and the Harvard University China Fund grant (2008–2009); and The National Science Foundation Grant to Niobe Way, Hirokazu Yoshikawa, Diane Hughes, and Catherine Tamis-LeMonda.

concerning this article should be addressed to Yueming Jia, Southeast University, No. 2 Sipailou, Nanjing, JS 210096, China. Electronic mail may be sent to


This study explored students’ perceptions of 3 dimensions of school climate (teacher support, student–student support, and opportunities for autonomy in the classroom) and the associations between these dimensions and adolescent psychological and academic adjustment in China and the United States. Data were drawn from 2 studies involving 706 middle school students (M = 12.26) from Nanjing, China, and 709 middle school students (= 12.36) from New York City. Findings revealed that students in China perceived higher levels of teacher support, student–student support, and opportunities for autonomy in the classroom than students in the United States. Furthermore, students’ perceptions of teacher support and student–student support were positively associated with adolescents’ self-esteem and grade point average but negatively associated with depressive symptoms for both Chinese and American adolescents.