Emotionally engaged or feeling anxious and cynical? School experiences and links to school achievement among Finland-Swedish general and special education students

Marina Palmgren, Kirsi Pyhältö, Janne Pietarinen, Jenni Sullanmaa, Tiina Soini

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Abstract

The aim of the study was to enhance understanding of how seventh graders vary in emotional engagement and experienced well-being at school in terms of anxiety and cynicism. The two profiles were explored, and comparisons were made between students in general education and those in special education. The study participants comprised 119 Finland–Swedish students from five secondary schools. Four emotional-engagement and well-being profiles were identified based on cluster analysis. The students with the most typical profile were moderately engaged in teacher-student interaction and emotionally highly engaged in peer interaction, combined with a low risk of anxiety and cynicism. The profiles showed no statistically significant differences regarding gender and school achievement. However, there were differences between students in special education and those in general education. In Finland, Swedish –speaking Finns are a language minority group. Swedish has official language status in Finland. Compared to many other language minority groups they can be considered somewhat exceptional, since according to many welfare indicators they tend to do better than the general population. There are a few studies on differences between Swedish and Finnish– speaking students’ school experiences in Finland, however, so far studies exploring Swedish- speaking general and special education students’ emotional engagement and study well-being in terms of anxiety and cynicism have been scarce.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1487–1509
JournalSocial Psychology of Education
Volume24
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • Emotional engagement
  • General education students
  • School achievement
  • School experiences
  • Secondary school
  • Special education students

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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