Latest article- Child self-report measures of primary-secondary transition experiences and emotional wellbeing: An international systematic literature review (Primary-Secondary School Transitions special issue)


Bagnall, C. L., & Jindal-Snape, D. (2023). Child Self-Report Measures of Primary-Secondary Transition Experiences and Emotional Wellbeing: An International Systematic Literature Review. International Journal of Educational and Life Transitions, 2(1): 4, pp. 1–31. DOI: https://



You can listen to Dr Charlotte Bagnall providing an overview of the article.


Transcript of the podcast

Primary to secondary school transitions are critical transitions for children as they experience multiple concurrent transitions due to changes in, amongst others, identity, friendships, teaching styles and academic expectations. These transitions can be exciting and worrying for children at the same time and can have an impact on their emotional wellbeing. However, there is a lack of evidence about this impact. Further, it is not clear how this impact of measured and whether the scales or measures used were robust or not.

Therefore, we decided to undertake a systematic literature review of international empirical research to examine what child self-report measures have been used to assess their primary-secondary school transitions experiences and/or emotional wellbeing. Our systematic review covered the period 01/2008 and 03/2021 with the aim of (a) understanding authors’ conceptualisation of primary-secondary school transitions and emotional wellbeing,
and (b) systematically reviewing transitions and emotional wellbeing scales used in primary-secondary transitions research.

We used the EPPI-Centre approach, and after a rigorous screening of 4,518 records, we included 60 articles based on our study’s inclusion criteria. We found that the scales or questionnaires used to measure primary-secondary school transitions and/or emotional wellbeing had 6 key limitations.

1. They didn’t take into account the longitudinal and dynamic nature of primary-secondary school transitions and emotional wellbeing,
2. They used negative terminology, such as depression or anxiety
3. They were not always accessible, e.g., they were very long
4. They did not assess both transitions and emotional wellbeing using a single scale,
5. Not all articles reported on reliability and validity
6. The key constructs (transitions and emotional wellbeing) were not conceptualised and/or theoretically defined in the included articles.

These limitations can have a negative impact on any practices and policies. This systematic literature review provides the policy makers and practitioners with a good understanding of what aspects of research or measures to consider and critique before using the research as a basis for transitions support.


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