Results Student responses on the questionnaires indicated that these children had high stress, moderate levels of trait anger, moderate use of outwardly expressed anger, fairly high use of inwardly held anger and anger-reflection/control, moderately high school connectedness, moderately high behavior control (coping) and moderate levels of social confidence (coping). Conclusions Because school connectedness appears to protect the children in this study against trait anger, outwardly expressed anger, and stress and to be positively associated with coping, it might be helpful for school counselors and health care providers to consider these relationships when assessing children.
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 children. 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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