Separation stress of young children transferring to new schools

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24 Scopus citations


14 preschool children who were transferring to new schools were observed during a 2-wk period prior to the separation from their 14 classmates who were not transferring. Ss ranged in age from 2.9 to 5 yrs. Ss were interviewed with the Piers-Harris Children's Self-Concept Scale and the Depression Rating Scale for Children. Parents and teachers completed questionnaires on Ss' behavior. Results show that Ss who were leaving the school, compared to those who were staying, showed increases (compared to baseline observations 3 mo earlier) in fantasy play, physical contact, negative statements and affect, fussiness, activity level, tonic heart rate, and illness, as well as changes in eating and sleeping patterns. Shortly after their departure, this agitated behavior appeared to diminish in the Ss who were leaving but increased for those who remained in the school. This behavior pattern may represent a coping response to separation in an environment that is laden with cues of the losses associated with separation. (19 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)786-792
Number of pages7
JournalDevelopmental psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 1984


  • separation stress, 2.9-5 yr olds transferring to new school

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Life-span and Life-course Studies
  • Demography
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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