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Academic Underachievement of Contemporary Adolescents in the Context of Social Change.

Author: Tufeanu Magda
Degree:doctor of psychology
Speciality: 19.00.05 - Social Psychology
Scientific adviser: Svetlana Rusnac
doctor, associate professor (docent), Free International University of Moldova
Institution: Free International University of Moldova


The thesis was presented on the 30 October, 2015
Approved by NCAA on the 22 December, 2015


Adobe PDF document0.80 Mb / in romanian


CZU C.Z.U.: 316.6 (043.3)

Adobe PDF document 1.69 Mb / in romanian
247 pages


academic underachievement, social change, effects on adolescent development, deficit in social and emotional competences, psychosocial training programme


Structure of thesis.

The current thesis contains: Introduction, 3 chapters, General Conclusions and Recommendations, References (196 titles) and 15 Appendices. It also contains 128 pages of basic text, including 15 tables and 19 figures. The outcomes have been published in 12 scientific papers.

Study field: social psychology

Purpose of thesis was to analyze the psychosocial characteristics of academic underachievement in adolescents and to provide them with social and emotional competences in order to improve their potential for adapting to pressures due to the current social context.

Objectives of thesis: analyzing literature on psychological aspects of academic underachievement in the context of social change; elaborating a methodology and studying the deficit in social and emotional competences as peculiarity of academically underachieved adolescents; elaborating and implementing a psychosocial training programme to develop social and emotional competences in underachieved adolescents.

Novelty and scientific originality. The current work contributes to explaining the phenomenon of academic underachievement through elaboration of a model aimed to highlight the influence that social change has upon adolescent development; this paper highlights the contribution that social and emotional competences have to the adolescents adjustment to developmental tasks; it proposes a complex approach of the role that social and emotional competences play in the developmental course; it presents and provides empirical evidence on the effectiveness of an intervention programme based on these competences in academically underachieved adolescents.

The solved scientific issue consists of determining the psychosocial characteristics of academic underachievement in contemporary adolescents; the use of preliminary results to create and implement an intervention program allowed us to improve social and emotional competences; thus, facilitating conditions for the adjustment of adolescents to developmental tasks have been created.

The theoretical significance resides in determining some complex characteristics of academic underachievement in terms of social psychology, education and development; the explanatory model which has been designed emphasized the relationship between social change and academic underachievement, thus contributing to a better understanding of underachiement; the psychosocial peculiarities highlighted the need to develop social and emotional competences; also, this step led us to the development of a conceptual model focused on this category of competences.

The applicative value of thesis consists in creating a multidimensional questionnaire for assessing social and emotional competences; furthermore, a complex methodology (involving students, head teachers, and parents as respondents) has been designed for assessing developmental and behavioral peculiarities in academically underachievement adolescents; this methodology has been used to obtain valuable information and to elaborate and implement a psychosocial intervention programme.

Implementation of scientific outcomes. The outcomes have been used through activities carried out at “Ion Holban” Center for Creative Training and Educational Counselling, “Petre Andrei” University of Iaşi; also, the outcomes have been used with undergraduates during instructional activities in Social Psychology, Educational Psychology and Educational Counselling and Vocational Guidance; findings have been disseminated in 14 scientific events and 12 scientific publications.