‘It’s Just Performance All the Time’: Early Adolescents’ Accounts of School-Related Performance Demands and Well-Being

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Abstract

Previous research has linked demographic shifts in mental health issues among adolescents to a rise in personal expectations and a strong performance imperative, particularly within the educational system. This study aims to understand how early adolescents’ experiences of school-related performance demands and their general well-being are structured by class, gender and school context. Along with short-term participant observations, focus group and individual interviews were conducted within four schools varying greatly in the socioeconomic status of the school district, performance level and location (n=80). Connections between experiences of school-related performance demands, self-critique and mental health complaints, along with experiences of high performance demands outside of school, were more often found among students in schools located in high-resource areas. Schools in areas with lower socioeconomic status tended to be less competitive environments and provide alternatives to high performance within the school context, especially for girls.
Original languageDanish
JournalScandinavian Journal of Educational Research
ISSN0031-3831
Publication statusSubmitted - 20 Apr 2021

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