The School Environment as a Source of Somatic Problems in Adolescents
Keywords:somatic symptoms, school environment, adolescence.
AbstractSomatic symptoms are a prevalent health problem in children and adolescents. The specific cause often remains unidentified in paediatrics and cases are therefore frequently assigned to psychological aetiology. The most common cause of somatic symptoms is stress which can arise from a variety of areas of adolescent life. One significant factor affecting the mental health and wellbeing of youth is their school environment. The link between somatic symptoms and school has thus far been studied mainly from the perspective of the impact of health problems on academic performance, attendance or relationships with schoolmates. However, we can assume that the school environment and its characteristics can equally be a source of stress for adolescents and thereby also the reason for the occurrence of somatic issues. The main aim of this study is to investigate the presence of somatic symptoms in adolescents and above all, to determine if they can be caused by factors such as attachment to school, school climate, feeling of safety at school, teacher support, and self-academic motivation. To examine the factors of the school environment and the presence of individual somatic symptoms, we used the scales of the Social and Health Assessment (SAHA) questionnaire. Amongst the 1,961 adolescents observed, the most frequent somatic symptom was unspecified aches or pains (65.4%) followed by headaches (59.3%) and rashes/other skin problems (46.8%). Linear regression analysis showed that all examined factors of the school environment significantly lead to the occurrence of somatic symptoms.
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