School as a Resource or Risk to Students’ Subjective Health and Well-Being
Pp. 48-59 (12)
This chapter discusses the relationship between students’ experiences in school and their
health and life satisfaction, with particular emphasis on how social processes within the school setting
play a significant role in this relationship. Building on data from a large international survey, the
chapter aims to demonstrate how students’ overall life satisfaction is associated with health promotion
processes in schools. By utilizing motivation-based theories such as self-determination theory and goal
achievement theory, attention is focused on explaining the relevance to student life satisfaction of
processes that stimulate: 1) student empowerment through autonomy and participation; 2) their
relatedness to peers and teachers; and 3) learning processes through which students experience mastery.
Further examples of how such processes can be stimulated are provided from the Norwegian and the
European Network of Health Promoting Schools. This chapter demonstrates that a school environment
that does not stimulate health promotion processes is more likely to be perceived as stressful by the
students. Exploring the school environment from a stress perspective verifies how high demands and
student role strain in combination with low empowerment may result in higher levels of subjective
health complaints and ill health.
School setting, school satisfaction, life satisfaction, subjective health complaints, social
processes, basic needs, autonomy, relatedness, competence, Health-behaviour in School-aged children
study (HBSC), health promoting schools, school-related stress.