Psychosomatic Health under Pressure: The Stress-Buffering Role of Social Support on the Association between School Satisfaction, School Pressure, and Psychosomatic Health Complaints between 2013 and 2017
Braak, A.A.E.M. van den
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Introduction. Although school-related stress has increased among adolescents, a number of studies showed stable trends of psychosomatic health complaints (PSHC). Therefore, this study investigates time (2013-2017) and gender differences regarding the change in both prevalence and associations between school pressure, school satisfaction, PSHC, and the stress-buffering role of support from family, friends, and teachers. Method. Repeated cross-sectional data from the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children study (HBSC) in 2013/2014 and 2017/2018 were used. A total sample of 12233 Dutch adolescents (aged 11-17) in secondary schools participated in self-reported questionnaires. Results. High pressure at school and low school satisfaction were both associated with more PSHC, particularly for girls. Nonetheless, PSHC remained stable across time, while school pressure increased and school satisfaction decreased. Social support buffers the adverse effects of school pressure, but does not buffer low school satisfaction. Family support was a limited stress-buffering factor for PSHC when high pressure at school was present. Teacher support buffered only low school pressure. Friend support was no stress buffer. These findings were highly similar in 2013 and 2017. Conclusion. Future research should follow adolescents over a longer period of time due to indications of increasing stressful school environments, which could increase PSHC prospectively.