Thursday, November 7, 2019

State & private schoolers have no differences in wellbeing across adolescence; private schoolers have fewer behavior problems, more peer victimization, less risk aversion & drink sooner

von Stumm, Sophie, and Robert Plomin. 2019. “Does Private Education Make Nicer People? the Influence of School Type on Socioemotional Development.” PsyArXiv. November 7. doi:10.31234/

In a longitudinal sample from Britain, we tested if attending private, fee-charging schools rather than non-selective state schools benefitted children’s socioemotional development.
State (N = 2,413) and private school children (N = 269) showed no differences in wellbeing across adolescence, but private school children reported fewer behavior problems and greater peer victimization over time than state schoolers. These results were independent of schools’ selection criteria, including family background, and prior academic and cognitive performance.
At age 21, private and state school students differed marginally in socioemotional competencies, such as self-control, volunteering, sexual behaviors, and substance use. After considering schools’ selection criteria, only risk taking and age at the first alcoholic drink differed between private and state school children, with the privately educated being less risk averse and drinking at younger ages than those attending state school.
Our results suggest that private education adds little positive value to children’s socioemotional development.

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