Text: Niels Krogh Søndergaard, communications officer
Photo: Taylor Wilcox, Unsplash
“It’s Just Performance all the Time” is the headline of a new research article written by PhD Student Søren Christian Krogh from at Department of Politics and Society, Aalborg University.
The analysis published in Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research is about how school children experience performance expectations and how it affects their general well-being. For the study the researcher interviewed 80 pupils.
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. Kroghs new study shows how the school children’s experiences of performance expectations are structured by class, gender and school context.
The study is based on short-term participant observations, focus group and individual interviews conducted within four schools varying greatly in the socioeconomic status of the school district, performance level and location.
Mental health complaints
The study found how connections between experiences of school-related performance demands, self-critique and mental health complaints, along with experiences of high performance demands outside of school, more often occurred among pupils 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.
Søren Christian Krogh’s main fields of research include mental health, youth studies and gender, and another of his recent articles found that the positive effects of social media communication with friends varied depending on the adolescents’ body image.