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Title: Students' anxiety and their perception of relationships and conflict resolution within the school
Author: Thompson, Ishani
ISNI:       0000 0004 2701 252X
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 2009
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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.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Ed.Ch.Psych.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available