Students' accounts of school-performance stress: a qualitative analysis of a high-achieving setting in Stockholm, Sweden
2013 (English)In: Journal of Youth Studies, ISSN 1367-6261, E-ISSN 1469-9680, Vol. 16, no 7, 932-949 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
The aim of the study is to examine students' experiences of school performance as a stressor. Accounts of school-performance stress at both the individual level and in relation to group mechanisms are studied through qualitative interviews with eighth-grade students in a high-performing school in Stockholm, Sweden (n=49). Using qualitative content analysis, three overarching themes emerged. Students' aspirations include accounts of students whose own high standards are a source of stress, in particular among girls. High performance as a part of their identity is a recurring topic, as well as striving for high marks for the future. External expectations comprise students' views of parents' and teachers' expectations. Generally, students feel that parents are supportive and have reasonable expectations. Students often compare themselves with high-performing siblings, which may be seen as a way of meeting indirect parental expectations. Few students mention teachers' expectations as a source of stress. The high-performing context shows that respondents bear witness to an MVG culture' meaning that many students aim for the highest possible marks. Girls in particular tend to drive up stress levels by talking to each other about pressure at school. Students also compare themselves with each other, which is experienced as competitive and stressful.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 16, no 7, 932-949 p.
stress, school, aspirations, expectations, context
Health Sciences Sociology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-95739DOI: 10.1080/13676261.2013.780126ISI: 000325244100008OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-95739DiVA: diva2:662322