Volume 41, Issue 3 (2012)
Modeling the Factors Associated With Children's Mental Health Difficulties in Primary School: A Multilevel Study
Neil Humphrey and Michael Wigelsworth
Abstract. The current study explores some of the factors associated with children's mental health difficulties in primary school. Multilevel modeling with data from 628 children from 36 schools was used to determine how much variation in mental health difficulties exists between and within schools, and to identify characteristics at the school and individual levels that explain significant proportions of the variance. Our analysis showed greater school-level variance than has previously been reported (11.4%), most of which was associated with the quality of schools' provision relating to personal development and well-being, the proportion of students with special educational needs and disabilities in the schools, and levels of academic achievement. At the individual level, we found statistically significant and strong inverse associations between domains of social-emotional competence and mental health difficulties. These findings are discussed in relation to the literature on school correlates of psychosocial outcomes. Implications for school psychology practice are explored and limitations are noted.
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