Stress and the Classroom: Can Exposure to Stressors Impact Student Engagement?
Smith, Erin Ashley
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Adolescent exposure to stressors in both the home and school environments may have negative associations with student engagement in school. A series of regression analyses were run to explore and determine the relationships among five stressors and four measures of student engagement in a sample of 1,352 Dutch adolescents. The study found academic stressors to be the strongest and most uniform predictor of decreased student engagement levels. Stressors experienced in the school and stressors of chronic duration had larger effects on student engagement than stressors experienced in the home and life event stressors. The stressor effect on student engagement was found to be partially additive in nature; some combinations of multiple, less severe levels of stressors contribute to greater decreases in engagement levels than exposure to a single, severe stressor. Negative affect was not found to mediate the stressor-engagement relationship. In general, the associations found in the study were of weak strength.