Depressive symptoms in adolescent pupils are heavily influenced by the school they go to. A study of 10th grade pupils in Oslo, Norway.Eur J Public Health. 2006 Aug; 16(4):400-4.EJ
A school is generally acknowledged to be a key setting for promoting pupils' health and well-being.
Data from a cross-sectional questionnaire study conducted with all 10th grade pupils in 46 public schools. Depressive symptoms was defined by a positive score on Hopkin's Symptom Check List-10 (HSCL-10). Two composite variables expressing risk were established: (i) presence of negative factors (PNF), consisting of self-reported pressure to succeed, sexual violation, and exposure to bullying and violence; and (ii) absence of positive factors (APF), comprising respondents' self-reported physical activity, educational aspirations, and family's valuing their opinions.
Out of 7505 pupils, complete data were obtained for 6207. The prevalence of symptoms of depression varied greatly among different schools (boys, from 0 to 19%; girls, from 3.3 to 39%). The PNF varied from 12.3 to 45.5% for boys, and from 4.2 to 38.8% for girls. Corresponding figures for APF were 2.4-23.1% for boys and 4.3-37.5% for girls. Among boys, we found significant associations between PNF and symptoms of depression, odds ratio (95% CI) 4.5 (3.5-5.8), and between APF and depressive symptoms, 3.1 (2.3-4.1). For girls, corresponding odds ratios were 3.5 (2.9-4.2) and 2.1 (1.7-2.6), respectively.
The proportion of pupils with depressive symptoms varies greatly among Oslo public schools. This variation is associated with features of the pupils' social context.