Author: Lo, Siu Chee Amelia
Title: Investigation of the relationship between emotional wellbeing of the students and the social environment of the schools
Advisors: Siu, Judy (APSS)
Koo, Anita (APSS)
Degree: DHSc
Year: 2023
Subject: Emotions in adolescence
High school students -- Psychology
School environment
Education, Secondary -- Social aspects
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Faculty of Health and Social Sciences
Pages: xii, 301 pages : color illustrations
Language: English
Abstract: A School’s Social Environment (SE) is one of the key characteristics of the Health Promoting School (HPS) as defined by the World Health Organization based on the 1986 Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion. The components of SE referred to in this study are based on the HPS performance indicator established by the Centre for Health Education and Health Promotion of The Chinese University of Hong Kong. Many studies have claimed that having a positive environment in schools results in positive outcomes for students – physically, emotionally and socially. Studies have also found that healthier students tend to have better academic achievements. These findings suggest we would take a broader view of how the components of SE work together to promote the wellbeing of students.
This doctoral research adopted phenomenological approach aiming to investigate the impacts of SE on the emotional wellbeing of Secondary 3 students from local schools in different academic bandings. Qualitative data were collected from October 2017 to May 2018 via focus groups, photovoice and group discussions. A total of 41 students had participated in focus groups and 15 parents joined in group discussions. From those students, 24 were invited to use photovoice. In this study, the researcher explored the essential attributes through which SE had impacts on students’ emotional wellbeing, and how to make SE more conducive to students’ emotional wellbeing. As Social Cognitive Theory (SCT) and Social Determination Theory (SDT) are too micro, phenomenological approach was used, with reference to SCT and SDT to interpret the findings regarding the students’ experiences from a macro perspective. Nine themes and subthemes were identified: (1) Connectedness and Sense of Belonging; (2) Teamwork; (3) Friendliness and Care; (4) Teacher-student Relationship; (5) Peer Relationship; (6) Address Students’ Needs; (7) Multidisciplinary Development; (8) Leadership; and (9) Good Physical Environment.
These findings offer important insights for schools concerning the role they can play in providing better support for students’ emotional wellbeing through establishing a good SE. Through focus groups, group discussions and photovoice, phenomenology helps us understand the core essence of SE’s impact on students’ emotional wellbeing. The use of photovoice set an example of how to involve students proactively in the research process. The findings suggested the environment element of SCT is more influential than other elements. Therefore, SCT could be applied in this study and phenomenological approach was adopted to explore students’ experiences from a macro perspective.
An exhaustive description was created and then condensed into a fundamental structure of the lived experiences with the SE that impact students’ emotional wellbeing. SE has both positive and negative impacts on students’ emotional wellbeing. Enhancing the connectedness and teamwork of students through the establishment of an environment of friendliness and care, and a good physical environment has positive impacts on students’ emotional wellbeing. Good teacher-student relationships and peer relationships also builds up students’ sense of belonging. Students’ self-confidence can be enhanced through addressing their needs, and providing multidisciplinary development and leadership training. All these in turn will have a constructive impact on students’ emotional wellbeing.
Rights: All rights reserved
Access: restricted access

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