Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Putney School, Identity (Psychology) in adolescence, Boarding school students-Psychology, Education-Psychological aspects, Quantitative research, Adolescents, Positive identity development, Self-esteem, Self-control, Resilience, Learning environments, Resilience (Personality trait) in adolescence, Self-esteem in adolescence, Self-control in adolescence


This study investigated the ways in which learning environments foster positive identity development in adolescents. For the purpose of this study, positive identity development was defined by self-esteem, self-control, and resilience. The study utilized a single-system design to extract a data subset from The Putney School's previously administered 7 wave longitudinal study and measured specific data points related to self-esteem, self-control, and resilience. The survey results of 65 four-year seniors who graduated between 2012 and 2014 from The Putney School, a progressive, co-educational boarding school in New England, were analyzed. No significant change was found for self-esteem, self-control, and resilience after running a paired ttest of T-1 (registering freshmen) and T-2 (graduating seniors). However "change scores" were created by looking at the difference between scores at T-1 and T-2 for self-esteem, self-control, and resilience, which established positive, negative, and zero change scores. The final sample size (N=43) for self-esteem showed 49% of student's self-determined positive change in selfesteem between T-1 and T-2. Self-control had an N of 43 and survey participants communicated a 58% negative change score. However, individuals communicated a 65% positive change score for resilience (N=45). Findings from this study were utilized to reflect on the learning environment at The Putney School and how they influence the ways in which they effect change in identity development in the adolescents who spend their high school years fully immersed in The Putney School education, or what is referred to as "The Putney Experience."




iv, 53 pages. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, 2015. Includes bibliographical references (pages 51-53)

Limited Access until August 2020