Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Studies


College of Education

First Advisor

Christine DiStefano


Self-concept is one of the most researched constructs in educational psychology (Marsh, Xu, & Martin, 2012). It has been established that there are different domains of self-concept which fall into two main categories, academic and non-academic (Shavelson, Hubner, & Stanton, 1976). Unfortunately, little research has been conducted on the non-academic areas of self-concept and little is known about how social self-concept interrelates with academic self-concept. The focus of this study was to contribute to the research base by investigating the relationship between a facet of nonacademic self-concept, namely peer self-concept, and achievement self-concept among elementary students.

The current research utilized person-oriented methodology to study peer self-concept. A nationally representative sample of students in elementary school (from the NCES ECLS-K database) was followed to examine changes in perceived academic and peer self-concept over the course of two years (from grades three through five). Latent class and latent transition analyses (person-oriented research approaches) were conducted to determine intra-individual changes in academic and peer self-concept over time and how these changes predicted academic performance in grade five.

Results of the latent class analysis revealed that students with positive peer self-concept tended to have positive self-concept in reading, math, and other school subjects. Latent transition analysis showed that most students move to the next higher latent class over time, reflecting improvements in self-concept. The domain of academic self-concept that appeared to vary the most over time was that of math. Implications for school and classroom interventions and areas for further research are discussed.