Journal article

A possible contributor to the higher degree of girls reporting psychological symptoms compared with boys in grade nine?

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Author list: Gillander Gådin, Katja

Publication year: 2005

Start page: 380

End page: 385

Number of pages: 6

ISSN: 1101-1262

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/eurpub/cki097

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Abstract

Background: It is a recurrent finding that adolescent girls report psychological symptoms in a higher degree compared with boys. The explanations for this difference vary, but the psychosocial school environment has never been a focus in these explanations. The aim of this study was to analyse whether psychosocial factors at school were associated with a high degree of psychological symptoms among boys and girls in grade nine, with a special focus on sexual harassment. Methods: The study was based on a cross-sectional study including 336 pupils (175 girls and 161 boys) in grade nine (about 15 years old), who answered an extensive questionnaire. The non-response rate was negligible (<1%). Logistic regression analysis was used to analyse whether school-related factors (teacher support, classmate support, sexual harassment), body image, and parental support were associated with a high degree of psychological symptoms. Results: Sexual harassment at school was associated with a high degree of psychological symptoms among girls. Conclusions: Sexual harassment must be acknowledged as a negative psychosocial school environmental factor of importance for the high degree of psychological ill-health symptoms among girls compared with boys.


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