08 SES 09 A, Mental health and psychological wellbeing
This paper focuses on the correlations between the developmental tasks of adolescence, such as bonding, qualifying, consumption as well as participation (cf. Hurrelmann & Quenzel, 2019: 7) and the psychological well-being of students.
A major developmental task in adolescence is learning to "inhabit" the changed body and to develop a "new", more strongly sexualized gender identity. At the same time, a restructuring of social relationship is initiated, including a gradual emotional detachment from parents and an increased focus on peers. Moreover, the development of intimate friendships and later partnerships is another obstacle. Whether young people successfully master these challenges can be measured by the satisfaction with their circle of friends or the positive relationship with their parents.
At the same time, adolescents need to acquire school and vocational qualifications in order to enter the labor market successfully and, thus, become financially independent. A successful accomplishment of this task is reflected, for example, by satisfaction of individual school performance.
In addition, young people develop individual strategies for relaxation and regeneration. They develop a confident handling of the various leisure and consumption activities, learn how to handle money and practice in a way to handle alcohol and other intoxicants. Here it can be shown whether individual leisure activities are particularly suitable for regeneration.
Further, there is the challenge to develop value orientations and being able to participate in relevant decisions in public sphere. These tasks can be partly measured by the stability of the adolescent’s own value orientations.
There are several empirical findings that these developmental tasks influence the physical and psychological well-being (Quenzel 2015; Hackauf & Quenzel 2018). So far, connections between school challenges, relationships among peers and parents, and leisure activities were primarily investigated as singular items. However, little is yet known about how the developmental tasks together affect psychological well-being. It is also crucial to find out whether one development task compared to the others has a particular impact on psychological well-being. This is the reason why this presentation deals with this gap in research and asks about the importance of school performance for the psychological well-being of young people in comparison to other areas, such as friendships, parents or leisure activities as well as values.
This paper is based on a secondary data analysis of the study “Lebenswelten 2016 - Werthaltungen junger Menschen in Vorarlberg“ (Böheim-Galehr & Kohler-Spiegel 2017). The data were collected via a standardized questionnaire (paper pencil). The survey instrument aims to measure value attitudes, educational aspirations, learning environments, leisure activities, political attitudes, relationships with parents and peers, and the health well-being of young people in the province of Vorarlberg in Austria. The data were collected in 100 classes at a total of 70 schools in all types in February 2016. The sample is representative of the total population of young people living in Vorarlberg who attend an eighth, ninth or tenth grade (i.e. about 95-97% of the age group). The response rate equaled 90 percent. The psychological well-being was measured with six items from the KIDSSCREEN study (The KIDSCREEN Group 2004), each with five response characteristics. The following six questions were asked: Thinking about the last week ... Has your life been enjoyable? Have you felt pleased that you are alive? Have you felt satisfied with your life? Have you been in a good mood? Have you felt cheerful? Have you had fun? The scale test gives a Cronbach's alpha of 0.90. In addition to descriptive evaluation, data analysis was carried out using step-by-step linear regression. The psychological well-being is statistically "explained" by factors such as school performance, circle of friends, relationship to parents, leisure activities, etc. Including all five model steps, the adjusted R square of the model is 0.38 and is significant.
The results indicate that satisfaction of individual school performance is highly related to psychological well-being, ahead of all other predictors. The psychological well-being is also explained by the satisfaction with the circle of friends. A distanced relationship with the parents, high demands on personal school performance and a hesitant value orientation have negative effects on psychological health. Based on these results, it is important, as already begun by the OECD (2017), to discuss the strong and probably increasing responsibility of schools for young people’s health.
Böheim-Galehr, G. & Kohler-Spiegel, H. (Hrsg.) (2017). Lebenswelten – Werthaltungen junger Menschen in Vorarlberg 2016. Innsbruck: Studienverlag. Hackauf, H. & Quenzel, G. (2018). Diversität von Gesundheit und Krankheit im Kindes- und Jugendalter. In: Harring, R. (Hrsg.). Referenzwerk Gesundheitswissenschaften. Wiesbaden: VS Springer. doi:10.1007/978-3-662-54179-1_43-1 KIDSCREEN Group (2004). KIDSCREEN-52 Child and Adolescent Version. OECD (Hrsg.). (2017). PISA 2015 results (Volume III). Students’ Well-Being. OECD Paris: Publishing. Hurrelmann, K. & Quenzel, G. (2019). Developmental Tasks in Adolescence. New York/London: Routledge Quenzel , K. (2015). Entwicklungsaufgaben und Gesundheit im Jugendalter. Weinheim, Basel: Juventa.
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