Gender Differences in the Relationship between Pressure from Schoolwork and Health Complaints: a Three Country Study

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Journal Article
Child Indicators Research, 2022, 15, (3), pp. 763-780
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Pressure from schoolwork is associated with health complaints in primary and high school students. Girls are more likely to report high levels of pressure and experience frequent health complaints. However, the moderating effect of gender on the relationship between pressure and health complaints has not been fully explored. Logistic regression was used to examine the association between pressure from schoolwork and health complaints for a sample of 11–12 and 13–14-year-olds in Australia (N = 4723), England (N = 2734) and Spain (N = 3743), moderating for gender and controlling for family affluence and teacher support. Across the entire sample, a significant relationship between pressure and frequent health complaints was found (OR = 3.03, p <.001). Among students reporting a lot of pressure, differences between boys and girls in marginal odds of frequent health complaints were greater in Spain than in Australia or England (difference in log odds: Australia 0.426, p =.211; England 0.445, p =.821; Spain 1.044, p <.001). Pressure from schoolwork is an important issue for student mental health. This study suggests that the role of gender in moderating this relationship differs across countries. Differing national approaches to testing and grade repetition, as well as differences in macro-economic and social contexts, especially between Australia and England on the one hand, and Spain on the other, are discussed as possible explanations for these gender differences. More research is needed on how these factors influence boys’ and girls’ perceptions of pressure and stress associated with schoolwork.
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