Jocelyn Jarvis, “Relationship Between Socioeconomic Status, School Affiliation and Stress in Adolescents”
Mentors: Krista Lisdahl & Ryan Sullivan, Psychology
Prior research on stress in adolescents have revealed that lower SES and ethnic minority status are both related to increased stress. Considering adolescents spend a large time within a school setting, research has shown that school affiliation can promote resilience against stress. Few studies have fully examined whether school affiliation moderates the relationship between SES and ethnic minority status and stress in a national diverse sample of 9 to 11-year-olds. The aim of this project is to determine the impact of SES variables, race/ethnicity, and school affiliation and disengagement on stress within younger adolescents. 11,875 participants, both youth (aged 9-10) and accompanying parents/guardians, completed self-report questionnaires on demographic information [e.g., race/ethnicity, SES (including, household income and parental education)], class engagement, and stress. This data draws from the baseline visit of the ABCD Study. A hierarchical multiple regression analyzed the impact of race/ethnicity and SES variables on stress, then, class engagement variables were added to determine their effect on the model. Findings showed race, ethnicity, and parental education, significantly impacted stress in school- aged children. School affiliation and disengagement variables were then added to the model and each had significant impacts on stress. As a set, these variables account for 3.7% of the variance in stress. These findings confirm that demographic factors, particularly race, ethnicity, and parental education, impact stress levels in youth. Interestingly, SES variables did not have a large effect on stress in this sample. Moreover, school engagement and positive notions towards school are buffering factors against higher levels of stress, whereas educational disengagement is associated with higher stress. Indicating that youth’s feelings towards school, compounded with race and ethnicity, can affect stress in adolescents younger than previously investigated.