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The authors extended the internal/external frame of reference (I/E) model of self-concept formation by relating Chinese, English, and math achievement to Chinese, English, and math self-concepts in a 5-year longitudinal study based on a large (N = 9,482) representative sample of Hong Kong high school students. Tests of the I/E model are typically based on math and English constructs for a single wave of data in Western countries, This study involved testing its cross-cultural generalizability to a non-Western country, including native and normative languages, as well as mathematics, and evaluating longitudinal effects over a 5-year period starting shortly before the beginning of high school. In support of the extended I/E model, (a) math, English, and Chinese achievements were highly correlated, whereas math, English, and Chinese self-concepts were nearly uncorrelated; (b) math, English, and Chinese achievements each had positive effects on the matching self-concept domain but negative effects on nonmatching domains (e.g., English achievement had a positive effect on English self-concept but negative effects on math and Chinese self-concepts); and (c) these results were very stable over time


Institute for Positive Psychology and Education

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Open Access Journal Article

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Open Access