Does School Connectedness Help to Protect School-Aged Children from Anger and Stress? by ProQuest


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									Does School Connectedness Help to Protect School-Aged Children
from Anger and Stress?
                                                                                     By Marti Rice, PhD, RN

In children, several health and be-     “others”) enrolled in our study        confident students report that they
havior outcomes have been associ-       were nine or ten years old, Eng-       freely disclose feelings and opinions
ated with increased levels of anger     lish speaking, in the fourth grade,    to others, assert themselves when
and stress and with unhealthy ways      and able to understand and follow      negotiating for the meeting of their
of expressing anger and coping.         instructions; they had parental        needs, relate comfortably with
Some of these outcomes include          consent to participate in the study    peers and behave independently of
increased blood pressure levels,        and agreed to do so. None of the       others when appropriate.
respiratory illnesses, suicide, over-   children had a diagnosis of psy-
weight, bullying, and aggressive-       chiatric illness or was unable to      When the data were examined to
ness.                                   participate in moderately intensive    determine relationships, school
                                        physical activity.                     connectedness was related to be-
One significant factor shown to                                                havior control, social confidence,
protect adolescents against these       Students completed questionnaires      stress, trait anger and outwardly
negative consequences is “school        designed to measure trait anger (a     expressed anger. As the level of
connectedness,” or the sense            more lasting type of anger), stress,   school connectedness increased,
of belonging or connection that         ways of anger expression (out-         both behavior control and social
children feel toward their school,      wardly expressed anger, inwardly       confidence increased. Conversely,
fellow students, and teachers. Al-      held anger, and anger-reflection/      the levels of trait anger, stress,
though researchers have studied         control, an approach to resolving      and outwardly expressed anger
school connectedness in adoles-         conflict), coping and school con-      decreased when the level of school
cents, information is needed about      nectedness for their age group.        connectedness increased.
school connectedness in younger
                                        We collected data in a classroom       The effects of gender and race
                                        setting during school hours over       differed. Gender did not influence
In an investigation reported in the     a two-day period in the fifth week     any of the relationships between
March 2008 issue of the Journal of      of the academic quarter. We read       school connectedness and trait
School Health, we addressed this        the questionnaires to the group of     anger, stress, outwardly expressed
lack of knowledge about school          children, and each child responded     anger, behavior control and social
connectedness and school-aged           individually to the items.             confidence.
children. We conducted a study
                                                                               On the other hand, race influenced
with fourth-grade students as part      Results                                the relationships between school
of a larger intervention study (the     Student responses on the question-
                                                                               connectedness and both stress
Promoting Anger and Stress Man-         naires indicated that these children
                                                                               and social confidence. White stu-
agement and Self Concept (PASS)         had high stress, moderate levels
                                                                               dents who had higher levels of
program) and explored if school         of trait anger, moderate use of
                                                                               school connectedness had lower
connectedness was related to an-        outwardly expressed anger, fairly
                                                                               stress and higher social confidence,
ger, stress, way
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