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Risk behavior of adolescents and school climate: influence of parents and peers

Priority areas of development: sociology
2019
The project has been carried out as part of the HSE Program of Fundamental Studies.

The aim of the project was to study the role of parents and peers in shaping the school climate and reducing risk behavior in several regions of the country with different socio-economic contexts and educational policy features, in urban and rural settlements.

Methods

The project used a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods. In the framework of statistical analysis of quantitative data, the methods of predictive statistics were used: multiple, logistic and multilevel regression; multiple imputation method was applied to restore the missings. As part of qualitative methodology, an analysis of the interview was conducted using the thematic coding method.

The empirical base of the project was the data collected by the Laboratory for the current and previous years: (1) 27,608 students from 249 schools of the Kaluga Region - 2016-2017; (2) 9 thousand students from 237 schools in various types of localities (St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region) - 2009-2014; (3) 1,450 students of St. Petersburg colleges (wave 1-5 of a longitudinal project on health and risk behavior) - 2017-19; (4) 2,274 parents from 59 schools in St. Petersburg, as well as 200 interviews with school employees and 90 interviews with students of 2008-2009, 2018-2019 in St. Petersburg, Kaluga and Moscow region.

Results

The study of the role of parents and peers in shaping the school climate and reducing risk behavior and well-being mainly consisted of the following tasks. First, we studied: (1) the influence of peers on teenagers' alcohol abuse in student groups, (2) the relationship between the aggressiveness of the educational environment and the social and emotional consequences of victimization, (3) the emotional support of peers and its role in bullying situations, etc.

The results demonstrate that the behavior and local norms in student groups are associated with alcoholization of adolescents, their socio-emotional well-being and successful professionalization. The high level of alcoholization of peers leads to an increase in the frequency of alcohol consumption by adolescents. At the same time, the emotional support from the classmates is necessary for students’ successful education. In the situation of bullying, self-esteem of the effectiveness of mastering the profession drops. The socio-emotional consequences of victimization are smoothed out by local norms regarding the acceptability of aggressive behavior towards peers: the more aggressive is the context, the less traumatizing is the victimization.

Secondly, the role of parental participation in the life of schoolchildren and in their behavior was analyzed. It was found that the practice of parental involvement is significantly different for parents with higher education and higher socio-economic status as compared to other parents. The results obtained reveal the mechanisms reproducing social inequality. One social class seeks to increase cultural capital and encourages children's independence. Another - controls children, e.g., approves the organization of their free time by relevant social institutions even though it reduces their free time significantly.

Thirdly, we developed additional tools for analyzing the school climate. Scales were designed, tested, and added to measure various forms of teacher and parental participation in a child’s life and education, emotional and instrumental support of peers, the consequences of bullying - anxiety and depression, etc.

The role of the family, school and peers in the adaptation process of such a socially vulnerable group as children of migrants was analyzed. Interviews with teachers have shown how teachers differently treat the migrant children, and that their relation is domain-specific. The behavior of adults at school and their support is an important factor for the well-being of students. In the case of migrant children, teachers are the main agent in supporting their adaptation.

Our project allowed to compare the effects of two factors on the emotional well-being and behavior of students: the support of adults and peers. This is the first time such results were obtained on the Russian data. At this stage, new opportunities are opening up for the development of scientifically based programs to create a favorable and comfortable school climate and reduce risk behavior among students.

The degree of implementation, recommendations for implementation or results of implementation of research results

Based on the results of the data analysis, the Laboratory continues to provide the educational institutions, in which the surveys were conducted, with the reports describing various parameters of the socio-psychological characteristics of students, involvement in risky behavior, etc. (in the dynamics, at the level of the educational institution and/or educational groups, with anonymity of individuals preserved). The results obtained may be of interest to educational institutions (schools and colleges), as well as representatives of the education committee.

Publications:


Valeria Ivaniushina, Makles A., Schneider K., Daniil Alexandrov. School segregation in St. Petersburg – the role of socioeconomic status // Education Economics. 2019. Vol. 27. No. 2. P. 166-185. doi
Савельева С. С. Неравенство успехов и притязаний девятиклассников: уровень локальных образовательных систем // Мониторинг общественного мнения: Экономические и социальные перемены. 2020. Т. 2. С. 212-232. doi