ABSTRACT

The purpose of this chapter is to examine, using a bird's-eye perspective, the growth of boys' school adjustment as seen through the eyes of their teachers. Of course, this area has been studied intensively, especially with regard to negative adjustment. This is also the case within the research program from which the data analyzed here were drawn (see, e.g., Magnusson, Duner & Zetterblom, 1975). Traditionally, the perspective has a1most always been variable oriented and the interest focused on either risk or resilience research (Coie et al., 1993) or on stability and change in indicators of bad adjustment ( e.g., Olweus, 1979). During the last 10 years, the degree of sophistication in theory formation and empirical analysis in this vast area has increased in the way the complex phenomenon of risk and protective factors are addressed (Luthar, 1993 ), in the recognition of the need to study risk mechanisms, not just risk factors (Rutter, 1994 ), andin the approaches used to study co-morbidity issues (see Stattin & Magnusson, 1996, for a partly person-oriented approach to the study of antisocial development). From the perspective presented in this volume, it seems obvious that these phenomena need to also be studied using a person-oriented approach as has been advocated by Bergman and Magnusson (1987, 1991) and Magnusson (1985, 134

1988). A judicious use of pattem-based methods may offer greater possibilities of, for instance, mirroring a risk mechanism that may have as an essential feature operating factors configured in specific characteristic pattems. Additionally, questions about co-morbidity are sometimes most naturally answered using an approach that allows the direct analysis of multivariate co-morbidity through profiles of adjustment problemsrather than through a more indirect variable-based approach. It is a Iimitation of the latter approach that it is often based on a model of pairwise linear relationships that are assumed to contain all information about co-morbidity.