08 SES 08, High school students; Education, health and wellbeing
Adolescence is a transitional period with rapid physical and psychosocial changes alongside experiences of growing needs for independence. These changes might result in developing contradictory attitudes toward behaviors related to health and wellbeing (Kang & You 2018; Kelly & Miller 2017; Cleveland et al. 2012.) With growing independence, adolescents experience more opportunities in personal decision making around their health behavior. For example, poor dietary decisions (Quelly et al. 2015), or choosing sedentary behaviors such as screen-based media use, may be preferred over healthier choices (Wojcicki & McAuley 2014; Wu et al. 2017). Moreover, when given a choice about bedtime, adolescents might tend to go to sleep later and wake up later (Marx et al. 2017), and the findings related to chronotype of adolescents have been found to be associated with unhealthy behaviors (Gariepy et al. 2018). Understanding the meaning of decision making around health and wellbeing, a broader understanding of the social environment in which the adolescent is a part of, is essential (Frech 2012).
Adolescents live in a society where academic accomplishments and failures influence a lot in an individual’s future. This might result to pressure in succeeding academically and cause stress as a byproduct. (Crede et al. 2015.) Further, academic stress has been associated with decreased wellbeing among students; for example, the stress periods have been found specifically effect on sleep quality. (Wunsch et al. 2017.) Adolescents spend more time at school than in any other place outside their home (Carvalho 2015). Therefore, the school environment during adolescence plays an important role in health and wellbeing in providing them adequate knowledge and skills needed to promote and cherish health (Langford et al. 2015).
This study aims to investigate how the high school students (16-17 years old) in six European countries view their daily health and wellbeing.
The research questions are:
- How do students view their daily health and wellbeing related to physical, psychological and social factors?
- Are there any culture-specific factors that emerge from the data?
The broader context for this study was a Healthy EU Erasmus+ project (2016-2019), which aimed to promote the health and wellbeing of upper secondary school students in six European countries: Finland, Italy, Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, and Spain. The schools were having activities targeted to increase the healthy habits of the students, and the special emphasis was physical activity. Students and teachers had country visits to see school life, meet peers, and learn about a healthy lifestyle in culturally and geographically diverse environments.
A quantitative, electronic survey was conducted during January to May 2017 in participating countries. The questionnaire used in this study was derived from previous questionnaires (e.g., the U.S. National Youth Risk Behavior Survey 2017 and Ontario Child Health Study, Youth: 14-17, 2014) and modified and validated for this study. Validation was done among Finnish students using test-retest methodology. The questionnaire measured the physical, psychological, and social aspects of health, and the language was English for all the students. The data were analyzed preliminary by descriptive statistics and will be further analyzed using bivariate analysis. Ethical approval was obtained from all participating countries’ schools, and the participation in the study was voluntary.
Of 144 students (Italy n=31, Czech n=30, Poland n=28, Finland n=26, Germany n=22, and Spain n=7) who filled the questionnaire, the majority (87%) rated their health as good or above. On average, the students slept seven hours per night on weekdays and nine hours on weekends. On weekdays, 6% of students went to bed after midnight, whereas on weekend the percentage was 35. Only 17% of students agreed being brisk and alert in the mornings often. Finnish students had the longest night sleep and their German peers the shortest. On an average school day, the most common time periods spent with mobile devices or computers were two hours per day for leisure (26%), and one hour per day for schoolwork (29%). On weekends, the time used for leisure increased and for schoolwork decreased. About two-thirds (64%) of the students ate breakfast at least five days a week. Of non-healthy food, 23% consumed soft drinks and 32% candies or chocolate often, and one-third (33%) drunk energy drinks at least once a week. More than one-third (35%) ate fruits, berries, or vegetables daily. The students were most physically active for 2-4 days a week, and 60% of them had a hobby related to sports. Students mostly (41%) spent time with their friends for 2-3 days a week. Of this sample, the Italian students were most active with their friends; 40% of them were spending time with them for 6-7 days in a week. Over half (52%) of students managed well with their friends or classmates. All students did not have someone to talk with their problems, as 11% stated the opposite. Nearly two-thirds (62%) liked their studies much and about half (52%) of students rated their workload at school as reasonable.
Frech, A. 2012. Healthy behavior trajectories between adolescence and young adulthood. Adv Life Course Res: 17(2), 59–68. Carvalho, R.G.G. 2015. Future time perspective as a predictor of adolescents’ adaptive behavior in school. Sch Psyc Int: 36(5), 482–497. Cleveland, M.J., Feinberg, M.E., Osgood, D.W., Moody, J. 2012. Do peers’ parents matter? A new link between positive parenting and adolescent substance use. J Stud Alcohol Drugs: 73(3), 423–433. Crede, J., Withwein, L., McElvany, N., Steinmayr, R. 2015. Adolescents’ academic achievement and life satisfaction: the role of parents’ education. Front Psychol: 6(52), 1–8. Gariépy, G., Doré, I., Whitehead, R. ., Elgar F.J. 2018. More than just sleeping in: a late timing of sleep is associated with health problems and unhealthy behaviours in adolescents. Sleep Med, in press. Kang, N-G. & You, M-A. 2018. Association of perceived stress and self-control with health-promoting behaviors in adolescents. Med: 97 (34), e11880. Kelly, M. & Millar, M. 2017. Exploring adolescence and parenthood: a transitional life stage and abrupt life change. A review article. J Comm Pub Health Nurs 2, 162. Langford, R., Bonell, C., Jones, H., Pouliou, T., Murphy, S., Waters, E., Komro, K., Gibbs, L., Magnus, D., Campbell, R. 2015. The World Health Organization’s Health Promoting Schools framework: a Cochrane systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Pub Health: 15(130), 1471–2458 Marx, R., Tanner-Smith, E.E., Davison, C.M., Ufholz, L.A., Freeman, J., Shankar, R., Newton, L., Brown, R.S., Parpia, A.S., Cozma, I., Hendrikz, S. 2017. Later school start times for supporting the education, health and well-being of high school students. A review. Coch Dat Sys Rev: 7,CD009467. Quelly, S.B., Norris, A.E., DiPietro, J. L. 2015. Impact of mobile apps to combat obesity in children and adolescents: A systematic literature review. J Spec Ped Nurs: 21(1), 5–17. Wojcicki, T.R. & McAuley, E. 2014. Physical activity: Measurement and behavioral patterns in children and youth. Mon Soc Res Chi Dev: 79(4), 7–24. Wu, X.Y., Han, L.H., Zhang, J.H., Luo, S., Hu, J. W., Sun, K. 2017. The influence of physical activity, sedentary behavior on health-related quality of life among the general population of children and adolescents: A systematic review. Plos One: 12 (11):e0187668. Wunch, K., Kasten, N., Fuchs, R. 2017. The effect of physical activity on sleep quality, well-being, and affect in academic stress periods. Nat Sci Sleep: 9, 117–126.
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