A majority of the nation’s military-connected dependents attend civilian public schools, yet there are pervasive inconsistencies in support programs and policies across schools (De Pedro, Astor, Gilreath, Benbenishty, & Esqueda, 2013). High mobility rates present several challenges to children of military Service members, such as learning gaps, social and emotional difficulties, and challenges forming relationships with peers and school personnel (Astor, Jacobson, & Benbenishty, 2012). This study examined how military-connected adolescents bridged their multiple military and civilian worlds in the school context. The theoretical foundations of the study included the Bridging Multiple Worlds (BMW) (Cooper, 2014) model and Social Network theory. The BMW design investigated military-connected adolescents’ perceived challenges and strengths of belonging to a military cultural community along with how they accessed resources for overcoming those challenges. Social Capital and Social Network theory situated developmental processes in a socialized context highlighting how interpersonal relationships shape development (Bourdieu, 1986; Daly, Moolenaar, Bolivar, & Burke, 2010). Focus groups revealed participants faced many of the typical challenges facing military-connected youth. They also perceived many of those challenges as having promoted positive developmental outcomes: social skills, resilience, and adaptability. Social networks, friendship networks and support networks, played an important role in overcoming the challenges of navigating their military and civilian worlds. Findings indicated differences in academic outcomes (GPA) between military and civilian participants, as well as between enlisted and officer participants. Findings also indicated different social network patterns between enlisted participants and officer participants. The rich history of military support within the local community and school environment may have influenced how military participants integrated into the whole eighth-grade friendship network. This study sought to fill the research gap by accurately representing the social and educational needs and circumstances of military-connected adolescents in a military-dense civilian middle school and to help educators create highly supportive environments for military-connected adolescents in civilian schools.
|Advisor:||Wishard Guerra, Alison|
|Commitee:||Cohen, Shana R., Daly, Alan J., Heyman, Gail D.|
|School:||University of California, San Diego|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-A 77/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Educational sociology, Middle School education, Military studies|
|Keywords:||Adolescence, Cultural communities of practice, Military children, Network analysis, Social networks|
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