Advertisement

Children’s Wellbeing at School: A Multi-dimensional and Multi-informant Approach

  • Valentina Tobia
  • Andrea Greco
  • Patrizia Steca
  • Gian Marco Marzocchi
Research Paper

Abstract

Based on a multi-dimensional model of wellbeing in school that includes psychological, cognitive and social components, the aim of this investigation was to (a) analyse differences based on gender and school level (primary or middle school) in children’s subjective reports of their school wellbeing, (b) analyse correlates of subjective school wellbeing considering learning skills, grades and behavioural problems, and (c) investigate parents’ and teachers’ personal experiences and observations related to children with a low level of subjective school wellbeing. The sample comprised 1038 third- to eighth-grade students who completed the Questionnaire on School Wellbeing (QBS; Tobia and Marzocchi in QBS 8-13. Questionari per la valutazione del benessere scolastico e identificazione dei fattori di rischio [QBS 8-13. Questionnaires for the evaluation of school wellbeing and the identification of risk factors], Erickson, Trento, 2015a), which investigates the gratification obtained by results in school, relationships with teachers and classmates, emotional attitude towards school, and self-efficacy. The results showed significant gender differences (e.g., a better relationship with teachers but a poorer emotional attitude towards school for girls) and lower scores on school wellbeing in middle school students compared to primary school students. Among primary school students, wellbeing tended to be positively influenced by learning skills, whereas it was positively influenced by grades and negatively influenced by behavioural problems among middle school students. Finally, both parents and teachers of children with low levels of school wellbeing described greater feelings of worry, guilt, and tension in relation to the children’s difficulties. Parents reported more learning and emotional difficulties in these children, whereas teachers reported lower self-awareness. These results may offer insights to inform school policies and interventions aimed at improving children’s wellbeing.

Keywords

School wellbeing Child wellbeing Primary school Middle school Multi-informant questionnaire 

Notes

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

This study was conducted in a manner consistent with the American Psychological Association’s Ethical Principles (1982) and the World Medical Association Declaration of Helsinki.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from participants.

References

  1. Adams, K. S., & Christenson, S. L. (2000). Trust and the family–school relationship examination of parent–teacher differences in elementary and secondary grades. Journal of School Psychology, 38(5), 477–497.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Al-Yagon, M., & Margalit, M. (2012). Parental coping, emotional resources, and children’s adjustment: Theory, empirical evidence, and interventional implications. In B. Molinelli & V. Grimaldo (Eds.), Handbook of the psychology of coping: New research (pp. 59–84). New York, NY: Nova.Google Scholar
  3. Amerijckx, G., & Humblet, P. C. (2014). Child well-being: What does it mean? Children and Society, 28(5), 404–415.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bacchini, D., & Magliulo, F. (2003). Self-image and perceived self-efficacy during adolescence. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 32(5), 337–349.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bandura, A. (2000). Autoefficacia, Teoria e Applicazioni [Self-efficacy, Theories and applications]. Trento: Erickson.Google Scholar
  6. Bassi, M., Steca, P., Delle Fave, A., & Caprara, G. V. (2007). Academic self-efficacy beliefs and quality of experience in learning. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 36(3), 301–312.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Ben-Arieh, A., McDonell, J., & Attar-Schwartz, S. (2009). Safety and home-school relations as indicators of children well being: Whose perspective counts? Social Indicators Research, 90, 339–349.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bonifacci, P., Storti, M., Tobia, V., & Suardi, A. (2016). Specific learning disorders a look inside children’s and parents’ psychological well-being and relationships. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 49(5), 532–545.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bracken, B. A. (1996). TRI. Test delle Relazioni Interpersonali [TRI. Test of Interpersonal Relationships]. Trento: Erickson.Google Scholar
  10. Breeman, L. D., Wubbels, T., Van Lier, P. A. C., Verhulst, F. C., van der Ende, J., Maras, A., et al. (2015). Teacher characteristics, social classroom relationships, and children’s social, emotional, and behavioral classroom adjustment in special education. Journal of School Psychology, 53(1), 87–103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Browne, G., Gafni, A., Roberts, J., Byrne, C., & Majumdar, B. (2004). Effective/efficient mental health programs for school-age children: A synthesis of reviews. Social Science and Medicine, 58(7), 1367–1384.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Buhs, E. S., Ladd, G. W., & Herald, S. L. (2006). Peer exclusion and victimization: Processes that mediate the relation between peer group rejection and children’s classroom engagement and achievement? Journal of Educational Psychology, 98(1), 1–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Camfield, L., Streuli, N., & Woodhead, M. (2010). Children’s wellbeing in developing countries: A conceptual and methodological review. European Journal of Development Research, 22, 398–416.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Chang, M. L. (2009). An appraisal perspective of teacher burnout: Examining the emotional work of teachers. Educational Psychology Review, 21(3), 193–218.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Cohen, J. (1988). Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences (2nd ed.). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  16. Cohen, J. (2006). Social, emotional, ethical, and academic education: Creating a climate for learning, participation in democracy, and wellbeing. Harvard Educational Review, 76(2), 201–237.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Cornoldi, C., & Colpo, G. (1998). Prove di Lettura MT per la Scuola Elementare [Tests of reading MT for primary school]. Firenze: Organizzazioni Speciali.Google Scholar
  18. Cornoldi, C., Lucangeli, D., & Bellina, M. (2002). AC-MT. Test di Valutazione delle Abilità di Calcolo [AC-MT. Test for the assessment of calculation skills]. Trento: Erickson.Google Scholar
  19. Correia, I., & Dalbert, C. (2007). Belief in a just world, justice concerns, and wellbeing at Portuguese schools. European Journal of Psychology of Education, 22, 421–437.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Danielsen, A. G., Wiium, N., Wilhelmsen, B. U., & Wold, B. (2010). Perceived support provided by teachers and classmates and students’ self-reported academic initiative. Journal of School Psychology, 48(3), 247–267.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Duncan, G. J., & Chase-Lansdale, P. L. (2001). Welfare reform and children’s wellbeing. In R. M. Blank & R. Haskins (Eds.), The New world of welfare (pp. 391–420). Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press.Google Scholar
  22. Fox, A., Duerr Berrick, J., & Frash, K. (2008). Safety, family, permanency, and child wellbeing: What we can learn from children. Child Welfare, 87, 63–90.Google Scholar
  23. Gilman, R., & Huebner, E. S. (2006). Characteristics of adolescents who report very high life satisfaction. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 35(3), 293–301.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Goodman, R. (1997). The strengths and difficulties questionnaire: A research note. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 38(5), 581–586.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Greenberg, M. T., Weissberg, R. P., O’Brien, M. U., Zins, J. E., Fredericks, L., Resnik, H., et al. (2003). Enhancing school-based prevention and youth development through coordinated social and emotional learning. American Psychologist, 58, 466–474.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Gutman, L., Brown, J., Akerman, R., & Obolenskaya, P. (2010). Change in wellbeing from childhood to adolescence: Risk and resilience [Wider Benefits of Learning Research Report No. 34].Google Scholar
  27. Hascher, T. (2008). Quantitative and qualitative research approaches to assess student wellbeing. International Journal of Educational Research, 47(2), 84–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Hascher, T., & Hagenauer, G. (2011). Schulisches Wohlbefinden im Jugendalter—Verläufe und Einflussfaktoren [Scholastic wellbeing in adolescence-Courses and influencing factors]. In A. Ittel, H. Merkens, & L. Stecher (Eds.), Jahrbuch Jugendforschung (pp. 15–45). Wiesbaden: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Henricsson, L., & Rydell, A. M. (2004). Elementary school children with behavior problems: Teacher-child relations and self-perception. A prospective study. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 50(2), 111–138.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Hill, N. E., & Taylor, L. C. (2004). Parental school involvement and children’s academic achievement: Pragmatics and issues. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 13(4), 161–164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Hinshaw, S. P. (1992). Externalizing behavior problems and academic underachievement in childhood and adolescence: Causal relationships and underlying mechanisms. Psychological Bulletin, 111(1), 127–155.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Holfve-Sabel, M. A. (2014). Learning, interaction and relationships as components of student wellbeing: Differences between classes from student and teacher perspective. Social Indicators Research, 119(3), 1535–1555.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Hooper, D., Coughlan, J., & Mullen, M. R. (2008). Structural equation modeling: Guidelines for determining model fit. Electronic Journal of Business Research Methods, 6(1), 53–60.Google Scholar
  34. Hu, L., & Bentler, P. M. (1999). Cutoff criteria for fit indexes in covariance structure analysis: Conventional criteria versus new alternatives. Structural Equation Modeling, 6(1), 1–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Hughes, J. N., Cavell, T. A., & Willson, V. (2001). Further support for the developmental significance of the quality of the teacher–student relationship. Journal of School Psychology, 39(4), 289–301.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Ingesson, S. G. (2007). Growing up with dyslexia: Interviews with teenagers and young adults. School Psychology International, 28(5), 574–591.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Isenbarger, L., & Zembylas, M. (2006). The emotional labour of caring in teaching. Teaching and Teacher Education, 22(1), 120–134.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Jussim, L. (1991). Social perception and social reality: A reflection-construction model. Psychological Review, 98, 54–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Konu, A., Alanen, E., Lintonen, T., & Rimpelä, M. (2002). Factor structure of the school wellbeing model. Health Education Research, 17(6), 732–742.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Konu, A. I., & Lintonen, T. P. (2006). School wellbeing in grades 4–12. Health Education Research, 21(5), 633–642.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Konu, A., & Rimpelä, M. (2002). Wellbeing in schools: A conceptual model. Health Promotion International, 17(1), 79–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Løhre, A., Moksnes, U. K., & Lillefjell, M. (2014). Gender differences in predictors of school wellbeing? Health Education Journal, 73(1), 90–100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. McLaughlin, C., & Clarke, B. (2010). Relational matters: A review of the impact of school experience on mental health in early adolescence. Educational and Child Psychology, 27(1), 91–103.Google Scholar
  44. Muthén, L. K., & Muthén, B. O. (2011). Mplus User’s Guide 2010. Los Angeles, CA: Muthén & Muthén.Google Scholar
  45. Newcomb, A. F., Bukowski, W. M., & Pattee, L. (1993). Children’s peer relations: A meta-analytic review of popular, rejected, neglected, controversial, and average sociometric status. Psychological Bulletin, 113(1), 99–128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Peter, F., Dalbert, C., Kloeckner, N., & Radant, M. (2013). Personal belief in a just world, experience of teacher justice, and school distress in different class contexts. European Journal of Psychology of Education, 28, 1221–1235.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Pollard, E. L., & Lee, P. D. (2003). Child wellbeing: A systematic review of the literature. Social Indicators Research, 61(1), 59–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Pomerantz, E. M., Altermatt, E. R., & Saxon, J. L. (2002). Making the grade but feeling distressed: Gender differences in academic performance and internal distress. Journal of Educational Psychology, 94(2), 396–404.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Pople, L., & Mainstone-Cotton, S. (2014). Children’s wellbeing. In S. Hay (Ed.), Early years education and care: New issues for practice from research (pp. 59–76). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  50. Repetti, R. L. (1996). The effects of perceived daily social and academic failure experiences on school-age children’s subsequent interactions with parents. Child Development, 67(4), 1467–1482.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Roeser, R. W., Eccles, J. S., & Sameroff, A. J. (1998). Academic and emotional functioning in early adolescence: Longitudinal relations, patterns, and prediction by experience in middle school. Development and Psychopathology, 10(02), 321–352.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Roffey, S. (2010). Classroom support for including students with challenging behavior. In R. Rose (Ed.), Confronting obstacles to inclusion: International responses to developing inclusive education (pp. 279–292). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  53. Roorda, D. L., Koomen, H. M., Spilt, J. L., & Oort, F. J. (2011). The influence of affective teacher–student relationships on students’ school engagement and achievement a meta-analytic approach. Review of Educational Research, 81(4), 493–529.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Rose, A. J., & Rudolph, K. D. (2006). A review of sex differences in peer relationship processes: Potential trade-offs for the emotional and behavioral development of girls and boys. Psychological Bulletin, 132(1), 98–131.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Rotsika, V., Coccossis, M., Vlassopoulos, M., Papaeleftheriou, E., Sakellariou, K., Anagnostopoulos, D. C., et al. (2011). Does the subjective quality of life of children with specific learning disabilities (SpLD) agree with their parents’ proxy reports? Quality of Life Research, 20(8), 1271–1278.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Rumberger, R. & Lim, S.-A. (2008). Why students drop out of school: A review of 25 years of research. California Dropout Research Project, Policy Brief 15. Gevirtz Graduate School of Education, Santa Barbara, CA.Google Scholar
  57. Sadker, M., Sadker, D., & Klein, S. (1991). The issue of gender in elementary and secondary education. In G. Grant (Ed.), Review of research in education (Vol. 17, pp. 269–334). Washington, DC: American Educational Research Association.Google Scholar
  58. Seiffge-Krenke, I. (2000). Causal links between stressful events, coping style, and adolescent symptomatology. Journal of Adolescence, 23, 675–691.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Spilt, J. L., Koomen, H. M., & Thijs, J. T. (2011). Teacher wellbeing: The importance of teacher–student relationships. Educational Psychology Review, 23(4), 457–477.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Symonds, J. E., & Galton, M. (2014). Moving to the next school at age 10–14 years: An international review of psychological development at school transition. Review of Education, 2(1), 1–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Theunissen, N. M., Vogels, T., Koopman, H. M., Verrips, G. H., Zwinderman, K. A. H., Verloove-Vanhorick, S. P., et al. (1998). The proxy problem: Child report versus parent report in health-related quality of life research. Quality of Life Research, 7, 387–397.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Tobia, V., Bonifacci, P., Ottaviani, C., Borsato, T., & Marzocchi, G. M. (2016). Reading under the skin: Physiological activation during reading in children with dyslexia and typical readers. Annals of Dyslexia, 66(2), 171–186.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Tobia, V., Gabriele, M. A., & Marzocchi, G. M. (2013). The Italian version of the Strengths and difficulties questionnaire (SDQ)—Teacher: Psychometric properties. Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment, 31(5), 493–505.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Tobia, V., & Marzocchi, G. M. (2015a). QBS 8-13. Questionari per la valutazione del benessere scolastico e identificazione dei fattori di rischio [QBS 8-13. Questionnaires for the evaluation of school wellbeing and the identification of risk factors]. Trento: Erickson.Google Scholar
  65. Tobia, V., & Marzocchi, G. M. (2015b). Il benessere scolastico nella scuola primaria e secondaria di I grado: Una ricerca su bambini con sviluppo tipico e con Bisogni Educativi Speciali [School wellness in primary and middle school: A study of children with typical development and with special needs]. Difficoltà di Apprendimento e Didattica Inclusiva, 3(2), 221–232.Google Scholar
  66. Undheim, A. M., & Sund, A. M. (2005). School factors and the emergence of depressive symptoms among young Norwegian adolescents. European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 14(8), 446–453.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Van Petegem, K., Aelterman, A., Van Keer, H., & Rosseel, Y. (2008). The influence of student characteristics and interpersonal teacher behaviour in the classroom on student’s wellbeing. Social Indicators Research, 85(2), 279–291.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Varni, J. W., Burwinkle, T. M., & Lane, M. M. (2005). Health-related quality of life measurement in pediatric clinical practice: An appraisal and precept for future research and application. Health and Quality of Life Outcomes, 3(34), 1–9.Google Scholar
  69. Varni, J. W., Limbers, C. A., & Burwinkle, T. M. (2007). Parent proxy-report of their children’s health-related quality of life: an analysis of 13,878 parents’ reliability and validity across age subgroups using the PedsQL™ 4.0 Generic Core Scales. Health and Quality of Life Outcomes, 5(2), 2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. West, S. G., Finch, J. F., & Curran, P. J. (1995). Structural equation models with nonnormal variables: Problems and remedies. In R. H. Hoyle (Ed.), Structural equation modeling: Issues, concepts, and applications (pp. 56–75). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  71. World Health Organization (2003). Creating an environment for emotional and social wellbeing: An important responsibility of a health promoting and child-friendly school. WHO/SCHOOL/03.10. Information series on school health. Geneva: WHO.Google Scholar
  72. Wyrick, A. J., & Rudasill, K. M. (2009). Parent involvement as a predictor of teacher–child relationship quality in third grade. Early Education & Development, 20, 845–864.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Zanobini, M., & Usai, M. C. (2002). Domain-specific self-concept and achievement motivation in the transition from primary to low middle school. Educational Psychology, 22(2), 203–217.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Milan-BicoccaMilanItaly
  2. 2.Department of Human and Social SciencesUniversity of BergamoBergamoItaly
  3. 3.Centro per l’Età EvolutivaBergamoItaly

Personalised recommendations