Perceived social support and school engagement in secondary students

Apoyo social percibido e implicación escolar del alumnado de educación secundaria

Oihane Fernández-Lasarte, Eider Goñi, Igor Camino y Estibaliz Ramos-Díaz


Secondary education is a stage in which many changes occur, including evolution in students’ relationships with teachers, family, and peers. Despite adolescents’ need for independence from adults, these processes continue to affect students’ adjustment. Therefore, perceived social support can be an important contextual variable in school engagement to prevent high levels of educational failure and school dropout. Consequently, the main aims of this study are: to examine the relationship between perceived social support (from teachers, family, and peers) and the dimensions of school engagement (behavioral engagement, cognitive engagement, and emotional engagement); to analyse differences in perceived social support and school engagement by sex and age; and to test the predictive capacity of perceived social support on school engagement. A total of 1468 Basque secondary school students (51 % female; 49 % male), aged between 12 and 17, participated in the study (M = 14.03; SD = 1.36). The Social and Family Support Scale (AFA), the Teacher and Classmate Support Scale (TCMS), and the School Engagement Measure (SEM) were administered. Student’s t-test, correlations and regression analyses were performed. The results indicate positive relationships between perceived social support and school engagement.
Secondly, significant differences in perceived social support and school engagement by sex and age are also observed. Thirdly, perceived social support has explanatory power for school engagement, particularly emotional engagement. Finally, the results are discussed and directions for future research are proposed.


This is the English version of an article originally printed in Spanish in issue 272 of the revista española de pedagogía. For this reason, the abbreviation EV has been added to the page numbers. please, cite this article as follows: Fernández-Lasarte, O., Goñi, E., Camino, I., & Ramos-Díaz, E. (2019). Apoyo social percibido e implicación escolar del alumnado de educación secundaria | Perceived social support and school engagement in secondary students. Revista Española de Pedagogía, 77 (272), 123-141. doi:

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Oihane Fernández-Lasarte is a PhD in Psychodidactics and Professor in the Department of Didactics and School Organization in the Faculty of Education and Sports of the Universidad del País Vasco (UPV/EHU). Her research focuses on school adjustment linked to contextual and psychological variables in adolescence and youth.

Eider Goñi is a PhD in Psychology and Professor in the Department of Evolutionary and Education Psychology of the UPV/EHU in the Faculty of Education and Sports. Her research activity, linked to the Psikor research group, encompasses self-concept and psychosocial adjustment. She currently teaches in the Master of Psychodidactics and directs several doctoral theses.

Igor Camino is a Doctor in Pedagogy from the Universidad del País Vasco (UPV/EHU). He develops his teaching and research work in the Department of Theory and History of Education. His research activity has been developed within the Psikor research group, following lines related to teaching coordination and the use of active methodologies.

Estibaliz Ramos-Díaz is a PhD in Psychology and Professor in the Department of Evolutionary and Education Psychology of the UPV/EHU in the Faculty of Education and Sports. His research work addresses resilience and psychosocial adjustment.