Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2016

Degree Type


Degree Name



Educational Psychology

First Advisor

Cheryl Somers


Adolescent achievement is a major developmental task in adolescence and reducing Risky School Behaviors is an important part of the process. Patterns of adolescent achievement and general development are the result of the cumulative process that includes a long history of experience and socialization in school, in the family, in the peer group, and in the community. This study is the first to expand understanding of these key interrelated but unique outcome variables of both Academic Achievement and risky School Behavior through examination of individual Character Strengths in the presence of other key intrapersonal and contextual variables from multiple systems in the child’s life including intrapersonal/individual and microsystem (family, peer, school) factors. Over 500 adolescents from 2 different high schools participated in the study providing information on demographics, individual Character Strengths, Adolescent Achievement Orientation, Parent Achievement Orientation, Parent Involvement, Peer Achievement Orientation, Teacher Social Support, School Attachment, Academic Achievement and Risky School Behaviors. Results revealed that the individual Character Strengths of Persistence and Prudence were significant in predicting Academic Achievement and Risky School Behaviors, respectively, when considered in comparison with other know predictors. Implications and possible application of Character Strengths to inform school-wide character education programs as well as individual character building interventions with the goal of increasing student achievement and decreasing Risky School Behaviors is discussed.