Less academically promising students should not be discouraged from setting high educational ambitions, a new study has revealed.
Chardie Baird, K-State assistant professor of sociology, and John Reynolds, Florida State University professor of sociology, looked at the mental health consequences of shooting for the stars versus planning for the probable and found that there were no real consequences for trying and failing to meet educational plans.
"We were interested in the topic on a personal level because we want to provide the best advice to our students. We were also interested because there has been a real push toward college for all, and we wanted to see what the consequences might be for pushing those with apparent limited academic potential toward higher degrees," said Baird.
The researchers used the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth and the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, which are both nationally representative secondary data sources. Their research ended with positive results.
The researchers coined the term 'adaptive resilience,' which means that people will adapt their reactions to prevent depression if they don't meet their educational plans.
"Considering that there are material and psychological rewards for getting more education, there is just no reason to discourage students or your children from trying, even if it looks like they don't show academic potential. The worst thing that could happen to them if they fail is they will not suffer from depression. The best thing that could happen is that they will live healthier, happier lives like others with higher educational attainment," he urged to parents and teachers.
The research was published earlier this year in the American Sociological Review, recently won the best publication award for the mental health section of the American Sociological Association.