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Children's Living Conditions: Studies on Health, Family and School
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, The Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI).
2010 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The present dissertation includes four empirical studies, each of which focuses on specific aspects of children’s living conditions.

Study I analyses the association between young people’s social relations and health complaints using Swedish nationally representative survey data on 10- to 18-year-olds. Both relations with parents and with peers are associated with health complaints. Relational content is more strongly associated with health complaints than is relational structure. With regard to relational content, strained relations are more strongly associated with health complaints than are supportive relations.

Study II investigates how effort and reward in school are associated with pupils’ subjective health using data from the Stockholm School Survey. Both effort and reward are shown to be positively associated with subjective health, and in particular pupils who report to put in high effort in school have high levels of subjective health. Contextual variation in health is found for girls but not for boys.

Study III is based on Swedish register data and analyses the association between family type and choice of programme in upper secondary school. Children in single-mother households less often choose the natural science/technology (NT) programme compared with children who live with two original parents. Having a resident or a non-resident parent with NT skills is positively associated with choice of the NT programme.

Study IV analyses the association between family type and social support, health, and material resources in 24 countries. The data are derived from the international Health Behaviour of School-aged Children (HBSC) survey. In a majority of the countries studied, children in single-mother households report smaller resources compared with children living with two original parents. No clear pattern is found with regard to differences between countries.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: The Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI), Stockholm University , 2010. , 30 p.
Series
Swedish Institute for Social Research, ISSN 0283-8222 ; 77
Keyword [en]
Children, living conditions, well-being, family, health, school, Sweden
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-31627ISBN: 978-91-7155-978-4 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-31627DiVA: diva2:277947
Public defence
2010-01-27, hörsal 9, hus D, Universitetsvägen 10 D, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note
At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 2: Submitted. Paper 4: Accepted. Available from: 2010-01-03 Created: 2009-11-23 Last updated: 2010-11-24Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Pros and cons of social relations: An analysis of adolescents’ health complaints
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Pros and cons of social relations: An analysis of adolescents’ health complaints
2006 (English)In: Social Science and Medicine, ISSN 0277-9536, E-ISSN 1873-5347, Vol. 63, no 3, 611-623 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper examines the association between social relations and psychological and psychosomatic health complaints, among adolescents in Sweden. We focused on relationships with parents, as well as relationships with peers in school and in leisure time. Both the structure and the content of relations were analysed. For the latter, we looked at supportive as well as strained relations. The data was the pooled child supplements of the Swedish welfare surveys conducted in 2000–2003. This constitutes a nationally representative, cross-sectional sample of 10–18-year-olds (n=5137), where information was collected from both adolescents and their parents. Results showed that young people's social relations with parents and peers clearly covaried with their health complaints. With regard to family relations and psychological complaints, the association was more pronounced for relational content than for relational structure. For instance, whether relations with parents were strained or not seemed more relevant than family structure and parental working hours. Moreover, strained relations were more strongly associated with health complaints, especially psychosomatic complaints, than were supportive relations. This applied to relationships with parents as well as with peers in school.

Keyword
Sweden; Social relations; Adolescents; Child health; Health complaints
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-9118 (URN)10.1016/j.socscimed.2006.02.005 (DOI)
Available from: 2009-02-27 Created: 2007-11-22 Last updated: 2017-12-13Bibliographically approved
2. School-related stress and subjective health: Effort and reward among school pupils
Open this publication in new window or tab >>School-related stress and subjective health: Effort and reward among school pupils
(English)Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
Abstract [en]

The present study analyses the relationship between effort and reward in school and the subjective health of ninth grade pupils in Stockholm, Sweden. Effort is constructed from two items: the pupil’s own assessment of his or her effort in very difficult school tasks, and whether he or she chooses to do something else if the school task is perceived as boring. Reward is operationalized in two alternate ways: as school marks, and as appreciation from teachers. The data were derived from the Stockholm School Survey (Stockholmsenkäten) of 2004, a survey of all pupils in the greater Stockholm area who attended the ninth and final grade of comprehensive school in 2004 (n=8,695). Multilevel linear regression analyses were conducted. The main findings are that both effort and reward are positively related to pupils’ subjective health, and that high effort in particular is associated with better subjective health. Low effort combined with low reward in terms of school marks is associated with the poorest health, although this is largely accounted for by confounding variables. Low effort and low reward in terms of little appreciation from teachers are associated with the poorest health also when potential confounders are controlled for. Contextual effects on subjective health are found for girls but not for boys.

Keyword
School, effort-reward imbalance, subjective health, ninth grade, Sweden
National Category
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-31625 (URN)
Available from: 2009-11-23 Created: 2009-11-23 Last updated: 2009-11-24Bibliographically approved
3. Parent presence and gender-typicalness of educational choice
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Parent presence and gender-typicalness of educational choice
2008 (English)In: British Journal of Sociology, ISSN 0007-1315, E-ISSN 1468-4446, Vol. 59, no 4, 757-782 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Given parental influence on children’s educational choices, new family constellations may impact on sex segregation in school and thus in the labour market. This paper addresses the question of what consequence father absence and stepfather presence may have for choice of the male-dominated natural science/technology (NT) programme in Swedish upper secondary school. The data include register information on all pupils who attended the ninth grade of the Swedish compulsory school in 1998 and 1999 and their parents (n=73,824). While children in mother-only households are less likely to choose the NT programme compared with children residing with two original parents, this is accounted for by differences in socioeconomic conditions and in grade sum. Fathers, like mothers, also have a more direct influence on children’s educational choices of field of study via their own education and occupation. However, what has not been noted in previous research is that this also applies to 'absent' fathers and, for boys, to stepfathers as well.

Keyword
educational choice, step-parents, non-resident parents, Sweden
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-31622 (URN)10.1111/j.1468-4446.2008.00218.x (DOI)000261216000008 ()
Available from: 2009-11-23 Created: 2009-11-23 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved
4. Family structure and children’s living conditions: A comparative study of 24 countries
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Family structure and children’s living conditions: A comparative study of 24 countries
2010 (English)In: Child Indicators Research, ISSN 1874-8988, Vol. 3, no 1, 127-147 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study uses large-scale cross-national data from 24 countries to describe the living conditions of children residing with a single mother as compared with children who live with two original parents. Three central areas are studied: children’s social support, health, and material resources. The data are derived from the international WHO study Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) of 2001/02. The survey includes nationally representative samples of school pupils of 11, 13, and 15 years of age in countries in Europe and North America and in Israel. After relevant selections, total n=95,335. The general finding is that children in single-mother households have lower social support from parents, poorer health, and smaller material resources than children living with two original parents. The general tendency is rather similar across a large number of countries although more differences are found in some countries and fewer in others. There is no clear pattern in how the association with family type varies between countries, for example, according to the share of single-mother households, by welfare state regime, or in relation to single parents’ employment rates.

Keyword
Children, family structure, single-mother household, cross-national
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-31624 (URN)10.1007/s12187-009-9059-1 (DOI)
Available from: 2009-11-23 Created: 2009-11-23 Last updated: 2011-01-18Bibliographically approved

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