Students' Anxiety and their Perception of Relationships and Conflict Resolution within the School

Prof Doc Thesis

Thompson, Ishani 2009. Students' Anxiety and their Perception of Relationships and Conflict Resolution within the School. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology
AuthorsThompson, Ishani
TypeProf Doc Thesis

The purpose of this study was to examine the quality of relationships within the
school context that promote mental and emotional well-being in adolescents. In
particular, it purported to understand how student-teacher relationships and peer
relationships can help alleviate anxiety symptoms. In addition, it explored how
students' perceptions of their ability to resolve conflicts within the school can
reduce anxiety experienced by them.
The study took place in four secondary schools which expressed interest in the
area of mental health in adolescents. A mixed design using quantitative and
qualitative methods was adopted by the researcher. Attachment theory provided
the framework for guiding the researcher through the research process, from
formulating the research questions to the qualitative analysis of data. The
quantitative phase of the study, using questionnaires focused on selecting the
sample for the next stage of the study. Two groups of participants, namely the
high and low anxiety groups were identified at the initial phase. Semi-structured
interviews during the second phase of the study explored the quality of students'
relationships with their teachers and peers that helped them to reduce their levels
of anxiety. It was expected that the two groups would differ in reporting how
these relationships help them to reduce anxiety.
A thematic analysis of the transcribed data revealed four emerging themes;
emotional support, safety, friendships and reducing worry. Contrary to the
researcher's expectations, both groups of low and high anxiety reported that they
had positive and trusting relationships with their teachers. However, there were
differences in how these relationships helped them to feel better in school. The
participants were unanimous in reporting that friendships were important in
reducing anxiety.
The findings highlighted that adolescents are able to form attachment
relationships with their teachers and peers. Such relationships gave them
emotional support, safety and helped them to reduce anxiety, particularly when
they were bullied or felt threatened. Adolescents' reliance on teachers and peers
to problem solve suggests that increasing their confidence in dealing with conflict
is likely to reduce their levels of anxiety.
Finally, recommendations for school-based interventions that promote positive
teacher and peer relationships and suggestions for future research are provided.

Publication dates
PrintJun 2009
Publication process dates
Deposited19 Jun 2014
Additional information

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