Psycho-social well-being among school children in the northern areas of Finland, Sweden, Norway and Russia

Year: 2007

Author: Ahonen, Arto, Rajala, Raimo

Type of paper: Refereed paper

The paper presents the results of a comparative research into the structure and level of psycho-social well-being among schoolchildren. A total of 1,406 pupils, 13 to 15-year old, from 27 schools in the Barents Region replied to the WHO Health and Behavior of School-Aged Children questionnaire (HBSC). The data were analyzed by using LISREL technique firstly to model the structure of psycho-social well-being, and secondly to explain well-being by variables bearing on school experiences and out-ofschool activities. The results indicated that psycho-social well-being was a three-partite construct comprising psychic, social and economic well-being. In predicting psychic and social well-being by school-related variables, out-of- school factors and economic well-being, two competing model were tested for their suitability into the data. In model one, demographic variables, economic well-being and out-of-school factors were set parallel predictors of psychic and social well-being, bullying at school and being pressured by school work. In model two, mediating paths among predictors were allowed. The GFI and RMSEA values were equally good for the models. However, Akaike’s Information Criterion made a difference between them; AIC indicating an overall fit was smaller for the first model. The modelling indicated that economic wellbeing had a strong indirect effect on social and psychic well-being. It exerted its effect via such out-of-school variables as physical activity, use of computers and time used for homework.The results are discussed with respect to differences between the four countries.