The role of self-esteem for the relation between school performance and psychosomatic health in adolescence : Sex differences and gender theoretical interpretations

University essay from Stockholms universitet/Centrum för forskning om ojämlikhet i hälsa (CHESS)

Abstract:

While socioeconomic inequalities in health seem to level out during adolescence, circumstances related to school appears to have increased in importance. Such circumstances include, for example, school performance. The primary aim of this study is to examine the relationship between school performance and psychosomatic health. The moderating role of self-esteem and the presence of any sex differences will additionally be investigated. Data from the Stockholm School Survey in 2004, covering a total sample of 5 135 adolescents in 9th grade, were used. Based on linear regression, a significant association between school marks and psychosomatic health was found where higher school performance was linked to better health. Moreover, lower self-esteem was linked to more health complaints. Self-esteem moderated the association between school marks and psychosomatic health but only among boys, for whom the effect of having both high marks and high self-esteem was not as beneficial for health as expected. While differences by sex were found in the distribution of school marks, self-esteem and psychosomatic health, none were found in the associations between self-esteem and school performance and psychosomatic health (the only exception being the moderating role of self-esteem among boys).

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