Supporting Young People's Emotional Wellbeing During the Transition to Secondary School in Regional Australia


  • Rachel Cathrine Rossiter Charles Sturt University
  • Deborah K Clarke Charles Sturt University
  • Linda Shields Charles Sturt University



Australia, rural, regional, school transition, secondary school students, wellbeing


Extensive international literature is available on aspects and impacts associated with students' transition from primary to secondary school. However, in regional and rural Australia, it is challenging for educators and healthcare professionals to ensure that interventions supporting the emotional wellbeing of students transitioning to secondary school are informed by context-specific evidence. This paper presents a narrative review of research published since 2010 investigating students' emotional wellbeing and psychological impacts of the transition to secondary school, with a focus on programs implemented to support young people during this transition. Research specific to students in regional and rural areas of Australia was lacking, with a marked absence of studies in regional and rural settings outside Western Australia and Tasmania. Similarly, research evaluating programs to support the psychological wellbeing of students transitioning to secondary school was lacking. However, this review provides a comprehensive overview of factors influencing the transition to secondary school from the perspectives of young people, their parents and teachers. These Australian data capture particular concerns and features that may inform development and implementation of interventions specific to the needs of young people in regional and rural communities across Australia. In schools where no specific intervention is planned, this review provides general guidance regarding challenges faced by transitioning students and possible ways students can be supported. In particular, this review highlights the need for educators and researchers to work together to develop and evaluate programs to support young people as they transition from primary to secondary school.

Author Biography

Rachel Cathrine Rossiter, Charles Sturt University

Associate Professor Rachel Rossiter is a teaching/research academic in the School of Nursing, Midwifery & Indigenous Health, Faculty of Science at Charles Sturt University and an endorsed nurse practitioner with extensive clinical experience in mental health and primary health care.  Her research includes mental health literacy and mental health workforce development, developing capacity for advanced practice and clinical practice development.  Underpinning her research activities is a focus on enabling practicing clinicians to further develop their clinical reasoning skills and reflective practice and to strengthen their capacity for therapeutic communication (core components of ensuring a culture of care and safety).



24-11-2017 — Updated on 01-03-2018


How to Cite

Rossiter, R. C., Clarke, D. K., & Shields, L. (2018). Supporting Young People’s Emotional Wellbeing During the Transition to Secondary School in Regional Australia. Australian and International Journal of Rural Education, 28(1), 71–84. (Original work published November 24, 2017)