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Interrelationships between coping, school connectedness and wellbeing.
Abstract:
This study examined the interrelationships between coping styles, emotional wellbeing, and school connectedness using path analysis. A total of 536 Year 8 students (241 boys and 295 girls) responded to an in-class survey and the Adolescent Coping Scale (Frydenberg & Lewis, 1993a) as part of a larger study. Productive coping style was positively related both to student-reported sense of wellbeing and, to a lesser extent, to school connectedness. A non-productive coping style was found to be inversely related to students' sense of wellbeing and connection to school. Students' sense of emotional wellbeing was found to be positively related to school connectedness. The negative relationships between non-productive coping with emotional wellbeing and, to a lesser extent, with school connectedness highlight the importance of taking into account the influence of risk factors as well as positive factors when focusing on enhancement of wellbeing and connectedness in secondary school students.

Keywords

adolescence

school connectedness

coping

wellbeing

middle school

secondary school students

Article Type:
Report
Subject:
Student adjustment (Psychological aspects)
Teenagers (Education)
Teenagers (Psychological aspects)
Youth (Education)
Youth (Psychological aspects)
Authors:
Frydenberg, Erica
Care, Esther
Freeman, Elizabeth
Chan, Esther
Pub Date:
11/01/2009
Publication:
Name: Australian Journal of Education Publisher: Australian Council for Educational Research Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Education Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2009 Australian Council for Educational Research ISSN: 0004-9441
Issue:
Date: Nov, 2009 Source Volume: 53 Source Issue: 3
Product:
Product Code: E121930 Youth
Geographic:
Geographic Scope: Australia Geographic Code: 8AUST Australia
Accession Number:
226163710
Full Text:
The growing interest in students' connectedness to school as a key influence on educational outcomes coincides with the emergence of middle years of schooling (Years 5-9) as an educational priority across Australia (for example, Cole, Mahar & Vindurampulle, 2006). The years spanning early adolescence (ages 10-15) are generally understood to represent a critical stage of adolescent development (Barratt, 1998). The rapid physical, cognitive and social changes, and often new and increased expectations at school (Eccles & Midgley, 1990) are demands that have the potential for overloading the adjustment ability of the young person (Feldman, Rubenstein & Rubin, 1988). Australian research has indicated that it is during these middle years of schooling that the highest incidence of disengagement, boredom, alienation, disruptive behaviour and disenchantment occur (Cumming & Cormack, 1996; Hill & Rowe, 1998). Understanding the factors relating to school connectedness in the middle years may help education leaders and school practitioners to design more effective school environments. Two factors associated with adaptation in early adolescence, coping and emotional wellbeing, are investigated here to identify the way in which they may be related to school connectedness.

Background

Coping

In order to navigate through life successfully and to deal adequately with stress, individuals must learn to deal effectively with problems. Problem-solving, an important coping skill, is essential as effective problem-solving has been shown to moderate the effects of stress (Printz, Shermis & Webb, 1999). While an individual's ability to deal with problems is influenced largely by individual characteristics such as life experience and personality, much can be done to maximise coping abilities.

Coping is typically referred to as the cognitive and affective responses used by an individual to deal with problems encountered in everyday life. More formally, coping is defined as 'the ongoing cognitive and behavioural efforts to manage specific external and/or internal demands that are appraised as taxing or exceeding the resources of the person' (Lazarus, 1993, p. 237). Individuals generally refer to a certain repertoire of coping strategies when faced with stressful events. The choice of these strategies can be influenced by the situational context of the stressor.

Adolescents are likely to face a range of acute and chronic stressors as well as daily hassles in their lives, such as those relating to family, school and peers. While it is not possible to eradicate these stressors, their severity can be reduced. Where a stressful situation is amenable to change, adolescents appear more likely to use problem-solving strategies. In contrast, emotion-related strategies, such as worry or self-blame, are more likely to be used in situations appraised as unchangeable (Folkman & Lazarus, 1980).compas, Malcarne and Fondacaro (1988) asserted that adolescents assess academic stressors as more controllable. Adolescents are more likely to employ problem-focused strategies for those stressors, whereas interpersonal stressors are viewed as less controllable and emotion-focused strategies tend to be employed as a response.

It is clear that there are many ways to cope with stressors and that specific coping strategies are neither inherently good nor bad because different situations call for different responses. But it is possible to differentiate coping in terms of effectiveness and to delineate coping into productive or non-productive strategies (Frydenberg & Lewis, 1993a). The non-productive coping label has originated from research that linked the use of strategies such as withdrawal and avoidance to mental health problems (Ebata & Moos, 1991; Sandler et al., 1997). Both local and international studies have shown that the use of non-productive strategies such as self-blame, worry, keeping to self and wishful thinking have been linked with a number of adverse outcomes in young people including depression (Cunningham & Walker, 1999; Murberg & Bru, 2005; Seiffge-Krenke & Klessmger, 2000). In comparison, productive coping strategies such as solving the problem, working hard and relaxing have been associated with better health outcomes (Frydenberg & Lewis, 1999).

Gender differences in coping have been consistently reported in the literature with girls more likely to make use of non-productive coping strategies, namely worry, wishful thinking and self-blame, while boys make a greater effort to ignore problems and keep things to themselves (Frydenberg & Lewis, 1993b; Wilson, Pritchard & Revalee, 2005). What exactly constitutes effective coping is difficult to determine. However, research in the field of coping has identified particular characteristics that increase the likelihood of individuals' use of effective coping strategies. These characteristics include temperament, optimism, perceived personal control, positive familial factors, positive relationships with teachers, flexibility and the availability of social support (Frydenberg & Lewis, 2002; Luthar & Zigler, 1991; Zimmer-Gembeck & Locke, 2007).

Wellbeing

To deal adaptively with the physical, intellectual and social changes required in early adolescence, a positive state of emotional wellbeing is deemed necessary. Coping with social and situational causes of stress impacts specifically on an individual's subjective wellbeing and self-efficacy, and more broadly affects relationships, aspirations and academic performance (Greenglass, 2002).

In the past, the discussion of wellbeing has often been framed within a deficit model (Fraillon, 2004). There is a growing trend to reframe notions of wellbeing to incorporate more positive states of being. Within this paradigm, the focus tends to be on general indicators of wellbeing such as health, resilience, self-concept, self-efficacy and achievement. Positive indicators of emotional wellbeing may include being able to express a point of view, having friends to talk to who can be trusted, being valued by others, and feeling safe from harm.

Consistent with the coping literature, age and gender differences have also been reported in wellbeing research. In a sample of British adolescents, Bergmann and Scott (2001) identified a marked gender difference in wellbeing: girls reported lower self-esteem, higher negative self-efficacy and unhappiness, and more frequent experiences of worry compared with boys. Additionally, these gender differences have been reflected both in the use of avoidant coping strategies such as wishful thinking or immersing oneself in other preoccupations, and in physical and psychological health symptoms, such as anger, depression and negative mood (Wilson et al., 2005).

A systematic and extensive review of the literature on child and adolescent wellbeing was conducted by Pollard and Lee (2003) from which they concluded that there was a lack of consistency of definitions of wellbeing in the literature and in the range of measures used. Pollard and Lee identified the following dimensions as sufficient to represent the wellbeing construct: physical, economic, psychological, cognitive and social. Notwithstanding the multidimensionality of this perspective, for the purposes of this study, wellbeing is defined by the presence of positive affect as opposed to the absence of distress.

School connectedness

As with the concept of wellbeing, school connectedness has been studied under various names with a variety of definitions (Blum & Libbey, 2004). Examples of terms used include 'school belonging' (Osterman, 2000; Willms, 2003), 'student engagement' (Taylor & Nelms, 2006), 'school bonding' (Catalano et al., 2004), and 'teacher support' (Klem & Connell, 2004; Reddy, Rhodes & Mulhall, 2003). Libbey (2004) reviewed studies that are designed to measure students' relationships to their schools. She found the definitions of the construct appeared to vary based on the indicators used, which included students' attitude and motivation toward school and learning, the degree to which students felt they were liked by others at school, and students' commitment, involvement and belief in school rules. For the purpose of this study, school connectedness was defined as students' perceptions of being accepted by the school and identifying themselves as being part of the school.

Previous studies have shown strong relationships between school connectedness and students' academic and psychological outcomes (see Bond et al., 2007; McGraw et al., 2008; McNeely & Falci, 2004; Nutbeam et al., 1993; Resnick et al., 1997; Shochet et al., 2006). School connectedness has been found to be related to low levels of health-compromising behaviour, such as substance abuse (Carter et al., 2007). One Australian study examined the associations between adolescent students' social relationships, mental health, substance use, school engagement, and school achievement. A total of 2678 Year 8 students participated in the study, which found that having both good school connectedness and peer relationships in Year 8 were associated with the most positive outcomes two to four years later. Students who only had good peer relationships but poor school connectedness were at a greater risk of anxiety or depressive symptoms and substance abuse (Bond et al., 2007). In a one-year longitudinal Australian study of around 2000 early adolescent students, poor school connectedness was found to be a predictor of future mental health problems (Shochet et al., 2006). The findings from these studies highlight the importance of school connectedness for students' psychological wellbeing and academic achievement while they are at school and beyond.

The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health in the USA (90 118 subjects) found an individual student's sense of school belonging was inversely related to depression, social rejection and school problems. When the data were aggregated at school level, belonging was positively related to greater reports of social rejection and school problems, and to higher-grade point averages. The researchers suggested that the results might imply that schools where most students felt that they belong perform better academically. At the same time, those students who did not find themselves belonging to the school felt a greater sense of rejection and therefore reported more school problems (Anderman, 2002).

An understanding of the relationships between school connectedness and students' coping behaviour may help to devise better school interventions to improve students' psychological wellbeing.

Student engagement is one of the terms that has been used interchangeably with school connectedness. The Longitudinal Surveys of Australian Youth Research (Fullarton, 2002) defined engagement as students' participation in extracurricular activities. This definition is similar to Jenkins's (1997) reference to school bonding. Regardless of differences in terminology, some clear findings have been established. As Resnick and colleagues (1997) demonstrated in their study of 12 118 adolescents from 80 high schools in the USA, school and parent connectedness are key factors in resiliency.

Interrelationships between coping,wellbeing and school connectedness

The authors have not found studies that examine the interrelationships between coping, wellbeing and school connectedness. Studies generally indicate positive bivariate relationships between productive coping strategies and a sense of wellbeing (for example, Frydenberg & Lewis, 2009), wellbeing and school connectedness (for example, Carter et al., 2007), and positive coping and school connectedness, in the form of positive relationships with teachers (for example, Zimmer-Gembeck & Locke, 2007). An examination of these relationships leads to speculation that they are interrelated.

Within the field of wellbeing research, there have been a number of studies (see Braun-Lewensohn et al., 2009; Heubeck & Neill, 1999) that investigated facets of wellbeing using the Adolescent Coping Scale (Frydenberg & Lewis, 1993a). There is also support for the use of coping as a correlate of wellbeing (Frydenberg & Lewis, 2009). Furthermore, there is increasing evidence that students who report more frequent productive coping behaviour appear to have a better sense of emotional wellbeing (Frydenberg & Lewis, 2009). In a study of coping and self-efficacy, Jenkin (1997) found that the best predictors for distinguishing between high and low self-efficacy were three coping strategies. These were focusing on the positive, solving the problem and working hard to achieve.

In Australia, Patton and colleagues (1997) found that a low level of emotional wellbeing in adolescence was a risk factor for major depression, substance abuse and self-harm behaviour. Another study of wellbeing compared young people aged 12-18 years characterised by behavioural, psychological and physical problems with a group of healthy adolescents (Ebata & Moos, 1991). The study measured use of both active and passive coping styles, and used perceived happiness and self-worth as measures of wellbeing. Results demonstrated a link between greater use of active coping (positive appraisal, guidance or support or both, problem-solving) and higher levels of wellbeing.

Positive affect can be helpful in participating in the activities that are important in the classroom (Schutz et al., 2006). The 'broader mindset' with a positive mood state encourages exploration, extension of self and the sharing of information. Resnick and colleagues (1997) interviewed young people for emotional distress, suicidal thoughts and behaviour, violence, use of substances (cigarettes, alcohol, marijuana) and two types of sexual behaviour (age of sexual debut and pregnancy history). They found that 18.4 per cent of 9th to 12th graders experienced significant distress. Thus, it can be expected that--while most young people go through their school years with a healthy positive affect--there are many for whom dealing with their emotional wellbeing is imperative.

Other studies have investigated the relationships between wellbeing, coping and academic achievement (Noto, 1995; Parsons, Frydenberg & Poole, 1996; Skinner & Wellborn, 1997). Research findings generally indicated positive relationships between academic achievement and coping. In particular, Parsons, Frydenberg and Poole (1996) identified that academically capable students are less likely to declare that they do not have the strategies to cope; such students use more active coping, particularly social support. While it may be deduced from these findings that academically high-achieving students experience greater wellbeing, it appears that it is the perception of academic ability as opposed to actual achievement that is more greatly related to adolescent life satisfaction and subsequent well being (Suldo, Riley & Shaffer, 2006).

It has been recognised that students who feel connected to their school report fewer depressive symptoms (Shochet et al., 2006). This leads to an assumption about the likelihood of a positive relationship between school connectedness and wellbeing. Additionally, there are indications that adolescents are less likely to report a sense of wellbeing when they report use of negative coping strategies (Frydenberg & Lewis, 2002; 2009). As stated earlier, Australian research has indicated that during the first years of secondary school (middle years) adolescents face a higher incidence of disengagement, alienation, disruptive behaviour, disenchantment and boredom (Cumming & Cormack, 1996; Strategic Initiatives Directorate, 2005) demonstrating the importance of focusing on this adolescent population as these factors are likely to have a substantial impact on wellbeing.

Research aim

In summary, the literature that is available to date on wellbeing, coping and school connectedness appears to indicate that the relationship between each of these constructs could provide insights that may facilitate healthy adaptation. The aim of this study is to examine the contribution of productive and non-productive coping behaviour to both emotional wellbeing and school connectedness. If there is some clarity about how these constructs interrelate, and knowing that coping skills can be developed, this may provide information about teaching coping skills in ways that specifically target emotional wellbeing and school connectedness. It is expected that the major impact on emotional wellbeing will be through greater use of productive coping and lesser use of non-productive coping. Since school connectedness is likely to be influenced by a range of factors (for example, school climate, educational progress, and peer and teacher relationships), increasing productive coping and thus emotional wellbeing is not in itself likely to be sufficient but could be beneficial. The findings from the study could identify potentially useful approaches to maximise adolescent wellbeing in the school context and hence student connectedness through the development of coping skills (Hayes & Morgan, 2005).

Figure 1 shows the hypothesised model. Coping behaviour is hypothesised to be directly associated with both emotional wellbeing and school connectedness; productive coping will have positive associations and non-productive coping will have negative associations. This coping behaviour is also anticipated to have an indirect influence on school connectedness mediated by emotional wellbeing. Productive and non-productive coping types of behaviour are assumed to be uncorrelated.

Method

Participants

Data was collected from 536 students (241 boys and 295 girls) in nine Melbourne metropolitan Catholic schools. Participants were aged between 12 and 14 years, and were all enrolled in Year 8 English classes. Of this sample, 93.6 per cent of participants were born in Australia. Most (75 per cent) indicated that they spoke English at home, 22 per cent spoke English and another language, while 3 per cent spoke a language other than English at home.

[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]

Procedure and measures

As part of a larger longitudinal study, self-report data on school connectedness, emotional wellbeing and coping styles were collected in the students' regular school setting. Parental consent was obtained for all students to participate.

School connectedness School connectedness was measured by a set of five items that focused on students' perception of their connections with the school (Table 1). The items were measured on a five-point Likert scale (1 = strongly disagree, 2 = disagree, 3 = neither disagree nor agree, 4 = agree, 5 = strongly agree). The items were adapted from the Pickett and Fraser's (2002) What is Happening in This Class? questionnaire, the Beyondblue (2003) student survey, and the Drug Education Evaluation and Monitoring (DEEM) Project survey (Insight SRC, 2005) (Cronbach's alpha coefficient = .86).

Coping styles Coping style was assessed using the Adolescent Coping Scale-Short Form (Frydenberg & Lewis, 1993a), in which participants were asked to indicate what they generally do and feel when they experience a stressful event. The short form of the Adolescent Coping Scale consists of 18 items constituting three styles of coping: productive (for example, 'Work at solving the problem to the best of my ability'), reference to others (for example, 'Talk to other people about my concern to help me sort it out'), and non-productive (for example, 'Worry about what will happen to me'). Each item is answered on a five-point Likert scale, ranging from 'I never do this' to 'I do this a lot'. For this study, the productive and non-productive coping styles were used (Table 1). Given the possibility of shared variance across the reference to others' coping styles and the school connectedness scales, inclusion of this coping scale would not contribute to clear understanding of the interaction between coping and connectedness. The productive coping scale comprised six items (Cronbach's alpha coefficient = .71) and the non-productive coping scale comprised seven items (Cronbach's alpha coefficient = .76).

Emotional wellbeing The emotional wellbeing index comprised six items reflecting an optimistic outlook, an interest in life, feeling relaxed, loved and needed, happiness, and self-worth. Five of the items were adapted from the Mental Health Inventory (Vert & Ware, 1983) while one item was from Rosenberg's (1979) Self-Esteem Scale. Items were measured on a six-point Likert scale (1 = none of the time, 2 = a little of the time, 3 = some of the time, 4 = a good bit of the time, 5 = most of the time and 6 = all of the time). The items were summed to generate a composite measure indicating positive affect or life satisfaction (Cronbach's alpha coefficient = .79).

Table 1 includes items contributing to all four scales together with labels to facilitate understanding of Figure 2.

Results

The scales were checked for multivariate normality, analysed for gender differences and entered into a path analysis.

The items contributing to each of the school connectedness, emotional wellbeing, and coping scales were added to obtain a total score. A multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) was conducted to examine gender differences on the four scales; productive coping, non-productive coping, emotional wellbeing, and school connectedness. There was a multivariate difference according to gender F(1,531) = 5.90,p < .001, n2 = .04. From the univariate tests it was evident that this difference was attributable primarily to school connectedness. On the school connectedness measure, females (M = 20.60, SD = 2.92) scored higher than males (M = 19. 41, SD = 3.26), F(1,534) = 19.96,p < .001, partial n2 = .04. The boys and girls did not differ significantly in their non-productive coping, F(1,534) = .09, p = .76; productive coping, F(1,534) = 1.57, p = .21; or emotional wellbeing, F(1,534) = 3. 34, p = .07. Since the effect size of the difference in the one significant measure was very small, gender differences were not controlled for in subsequent analyses.

Table 2 shows the means and standard deviations of the four scales based on their raw scores for both genders.

Path analysis

Before carrying out path analysis, the measurement model was tested. The loading of the items in the various constructs were examined using AMOS 7.0 (Arbuckle, 2006) confirmatory factor analysis with maximum likelihood estimates. The analysis found the items loaded satisfactorily onto the respective constructs, x2 (246, N = 536) = 599.7, p<. 05, %2/df = 2.44; Goodness of Fit Index (GFI) = .91; Adjusted Goodness of Fit Index (AGF) = .89; Root Mean Square Residual (RMR) = .06; Root Mean Square Error of Approximation (RMSEA) = .05.

Due to the known issue with excessive skewness in two of the measures (school connectedness and non-productive coping), data were then analysed using the AMOS analysis of covariance structure approach to path analysis and maximum likelihood estimates with bootstrapping. Zimmer-Gembeck and colleagues (2006) recommended the combination of these techniques for increasing the power to detect the direct and indirect effects of variables, and analysing multivariate non-normal data. Figure 2 shows the results of testing the framework for the study. The indicators of each scale are identified by the item labels shown in Table 1.

An assessment of normality produced a Mardia coefficient of 106. 8, which is greater than the critical value of 35.0. This indicated deviations of the data from normality, confirming the appropriateness of the use of the bootstrapping technique.

[FIGURE 2 OMITTED]

Note: Fit statistics X2 (247, N = 536) = 613.7, p < .05, X / df = 2.49; Goodness of Fit Index (GFI) = . 91; Adjusted Goodness of Fit Index (AGF) = .89; Root Mean Square Residual (RMR) = .07; Root Mean Square Error of Approximation (RMSEA) = .05.

As can be seen in Figure 2, the data fit the model in an acceptable way. The model as a whole explains 59 per cent of variance in emotional wellbeing and 35 per cent of variance in school connectedness. As predicted, productive coping was found to have positive relationships with emotional wellbeing (.65) and school connectedness (.28). Non-productive coping, on the other hand, had weak negative relationships with emotional wellbeing (-.41) and school connectedness (-. 19). Emotional wellbeing had a weak but positive relationship with school connectedness (. 29). All of the regression weights mentioned were statistically significant (p < .05). These estimates were similar to the bootstrapped estimates.

In order to elucidate the contribution made by non-productive coping to wellbeing and connectedness, the model was tested with non-productive coping removed. The variance explained for connectedness remained similar to the full model at .34 while the variance explained for emotional wellbeing reduced to . 48. The path from productive coping to wellbeing increased slightly to .70, and from wellbeing to connectedness from the full model path value of .29 to .41. This indicates the inhibiting influence of non-productive coping through emotional wellbeing on connectedness.

Discussion

The results of this study supported the hypothesised interrelationships between coping styles, emotional wellbeing, and school connectedness. Students who use more productive coping strategies had a better sense of wellbeing and reported greater connectedness with their school. The negative associations of nonproductive coping with wellbeing and with connectedness tend to support the findings of Shochet et al. (2006) who showed that poor school connectedness predicts depressive symptoms in adolescents and depressive symptoms have been found to be associated with the use of non-productive coping strategies. These results indicate that students who reported a higher usage of non-productive coping strategies had a lower sense of wellbeing and school connectedness, although these relationships were less strong than those associated with productive coping.

Wellbeing's positive relationship with productive coping and inverse relationship with non-productive coping are consistent with Frydenberg and Lewis' (2009) study of active and negative avoidant coping styles.

Teaching coping skills is one way to contribute to the effort to improve student wellbeing and school connectedness. The stronger relationships between productive coping and wellbeing imply that there is substantial benefit in investing effort into developing and augmenting the use of productive coping strategies.

While reducing the use of non-productive coping strategies is desirable, it appears to be secondary to the benefit derived for wellbeing from the use of productive strategies. Nevertheless, given the frequently reported relationship between nonproductive coping and depression (for example, Cunningham & Walker, 1999; Murberg & Bru, 2005) it is deemed advisable also to emphasise reduction in nonproductive coping strategies. Both the increased use of productive coping and the reduced use of non-productive coping are likely to influence school connectedness, as demonstrated by these data. One of the limitations of the path analysis is that the results do not imply causal relationships. It needs to be pointed out that it may also be important to increase school connectedness in diverse ways since strong student connectedness to school may encourage the use of productive rather than nonproductive coping strategies, albeit indirectly.

What is clear is that there is a strong relationship between productive coping and wellbeing. Similarly wellbeing is associated with minimisation of use of nonproductive coping strategies. The weaker association between coping and school connectedness is mediated through wellbeing. Those young people who are more likely to use productive coping over non-productive coping have a greater likelihood of experiencing wellbeing. To a lesser extent, those who use productive coping and have a good sense of wellbeing are more likely to be connected to school. This does not deny the fact that young people with good school experiences and subsequent connectedness are also likely to have positive wellbeing, which may facilitate their use of helpful coping strategies. It would be helpful to explore the predictive paths between these constructs in order to inform the development of appropriate intervention programs within the school system.

Acknowledgements

This paper reports part of a larger two-year study that was supported by a grant from the Australian Research Council through the Linkage Projects Scheme (Project Number LP00667931). The authors would like to acknowledge the support and additional contributed funding for this research by the Catholic Education Office, Melbourne.

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Erica Frydenberg is Coordinator of the Master and Doctor of Educational Psychology Program and Associate Professor in the Melbourne Graduate School of Education, University of Melbourne.

Email: e.frydenberg@unimelb.edu.au

Esther Care is Deputy Director of the Assessment Research Centre and Associate Professor in the Melbourne Graduate School of Education, University of Melbourne.

Esther Chan is an Educational Psychologist who is currently an Australian Research Council Postgraduate Award holder in the Melbourne Graduate School of Education, University of Melbourne.

Elizabeth Freeman is Coordinator of the Master of Education (Student wellbeing) and a Senior Lecturer in the Melbourne Graduate School of Education.
Table 1 Items contributing to the emotional wellbeing and school
connectedness scales

Label       Emotional wellbeing items

EW1         How much of the time have you felt that the future looks
            hopeful and promising?
EW2         How much of the time has your life been full of things
            that were interesting to you?
EW3         How much of the time did you feel relaxed and free of
            tension?
EW4         How much of the time have you felt loved and wanted?
EW5         How much of the time were you a happy person?
EW6         How much of the time have you felt that you are a person
            of worth, as good as other young people of your age?

            School connectedness items

SchCon1     Other students in this school are friendly towards me
SchCon2     I feel comfortable with others in this school
SchCon3     Other students in this school listen to my ideas
SchCon4     I feel accepted by others in this school
SchCon5     I think that I 'fit in' at this school

            Productive coping items

Coping 2    Work at solving the problem to the best of my ability
Coping 3    Work hard
Coping 6    Improve my relationship with others
Coping 15   Look on the bright side of things and think of all that
            is good
Coping 17   Make time for leisure activities
Coping 18   Keep fit and healthy

            Non-productive coping items

Coping 4    Worry about what will happen to me
Coping 7    Wish for a miracle
Coping 8    I have no way of dealing with the situation
Coping 9    Find a way to let off steam for example, cry, scream,
            drink, take drugs
Coping 11   Shut myself off from the problem so that I can avoid it
Coping 12   See myself as being at fault
Coping 13   Don't let others know how I am feeling

Table 2 Means and standard deviations of productive and
non-productive coping, emotional wellbeing and school
connectedness

Variable                  Mean      Standard Deviation

Productive coping
Male                      23.85            3.77
Female                    24.25            3.58

Non-productive coping
Male                      18.35            5.30
Female                    18.50            5.71

Emotional wellbeing
Male                      26.53            4.45
Female                    27.22            4.31

School connectedness
Male                      19.41            3.26
Female                    20.60            2.92
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