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The experiences of mental health and well-being of Swedish children and youth with a focus on educational situations: Some results and reflections from a review of qualitative studies
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Special Education.
2010 (English)In: Trender i barns och ungdomars psykiska hälsa: Program & abstracts 12-14 april 2010, Stockholm: Kungliga vetenskapsakademien , 2010, 17-18 p.Conference paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The practice of including in reviews people’s experiences and perceptions, which are collected with non-experimental and qualitative studies, has been developed recently in the field of mental health studies. These approaches and methodologies have inspired the review of research on Swedish children and adolescents experiences of mental health and well being, with a focus on their educational situation, that was conducted as a part of a systematic review of research on School Learning and Mental health, performed by appointment of the Royal Academy of Sciences. The aim of the review was to gather testimonies that can give indications of the experiences of mental health and well being in this specific context. The results from the studies that were relevant for the aims of the review are structured in four themes: general views, protective factors, risk factors, individual factors. They are presented in a narrative synthesis, giving a particular weight to the direct and indirect report of children’s and adolescents’ own views. The adolescents defined mental health as emotional experiences, seen both as internal feelings and as relational feelings. Family, friends and educational environments as social and physical environments were perceived as determinants of mental health. A great number of feelings were related to school, both related to satisfaction and pain, in particular when the school attendance is presented as an obligation. Harassment and rejection at school, performance stress, worries about grades and future prospects could be threats against self-worth and self-esteem, while teachers that do not care could generate negative experiences. Various kind of stress could be described and various strategies to resist stressful situations: for instance emotional support, safety and involvement. The educational environments can be an arena for social, cognitive and emotional experiences, relationships and accomplishments that are enriching the individuals and increase their well being. General structural characteristics of the educational environments may also affect well being in different directions: performance, evaluation and feedback, freedom of choice and responsibility for the future may be perceived as a burden. The following reflections can be made: the experiences of children and adolescents change when they grow older, go through developmental processes and encounter different educational situations; the studies reporting views of younger children on the matters of this review were less well represented; the negative experiences may be expressed in rather cautious and non dramatic terms by younger children; there are unique contribution of the review of qualitative studies, but also several interesting correspondences with the results of the review of quantitative studies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Kungliga vetenskapsakademien , 2010. 17-18 p.
Keyword [en]
children, youth, school, mental health, well being, children's views, systematic review, qualitative studies
Keyword [sv]
barn, ungdomar, skola, psykisk hälsa, välbefinnande, barnperspektiv, barnsyn, systematisk översikt, qualitative studies
National Category
Psychiatry Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified Pedagogy Psychology
Research subject
Special Education; Child and Youth Psychiatry; Child and Youth Science; Education
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-53007OAI: diva2:389594
State of the Science Conference - Trender i barns och ungdomars psykiska hälsa
Barns och ungdomars psykiska hälsa
Available from: 2011-01-20 Created: 2011-01-19 Last updated: 2011-01-20Bibliographically approved

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Allodi Westling, Mara
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