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Browsing by Subject "salivary cortisol"

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  • Gustafsson, Michelle (2023)
    Adolescent ill-being has in recent years become a prominent health concern globally. Ill-being during adolescence can have negative consequences for future health and wellbeing, as important patterns of health are formed during this time. This highlights the importance of early identification of risk factors and overarching patterns of mental and physical ill-being and arguments for early intervention during adolescence. The aim of this study was to identify risk factors and co-occurrence of subjective ill-being symptoms in the form of depressive symptoms and subjective health complaints. This study also examined whether the subjective ill-being of students was reflected in cortisol patterns in a naturalistic setting. This since stress has been identified as a key etiological factor in ill-being, through the damaging effect of prolonged exposure to elevated cortisol levels. By applying a novel measure of school atmosphere, the study also aimed to examine the potential protective role of the social atmosphere in school on subjective ill-being and cortisol levels. A total of 329 students from eleven Finnish-Swedish upper secondary schools participated in the cross-sectional study by answering a questionnaire. The salivary cortisol samples were collected from a subsample of the participants, with of a total of 209 participant that met the salivary sampling criteria applied in the study. The methodological framework for the statistical analysis of the study consisted of independent samples t-test, ANOVA, Pearson’s correlation, and multiple linear regression. The results showed a higher prevalence of ill-being in girls and second year students. A significant co-occurrence was found for the subjective ill-being measures of depressive symptom and subjective health concerns. The subjective ill-being was however not reflected in the daily cortisol patterns of students in a naturalistic setting. Furthermore, a positive school atmosphere was significantly negatively associated with subjective ill-being of student in the form of depressive symptoms and subjective health complaints. When controlling for covariates, the subjective meaning of school experienced by the students was identified as a significant protective factor against symptoms of ill-being. These findings identify students in need of additional support and highlights the need of applying an overarching view on student ill-being in future adolescent research. Since no associations was found between daily cortisol patterns and subjective ill-being this study contributes to the understanding of HPA axis in early disorder onset. This study also highlights the importance of subjective meaning in a school context and posits increasing the subjective meaning as a prominent strategy to decrease ill-being among Finnish-Swedish upper secondary school students. Further studies are however needed to assess the causality and to examine these relationships further.