The Association Between Perceived Care From Family, School Staff, and Other Social Agents and an Adolescent’s Presentation of Empathy, Trait Resilience, and Psychological Strengths

Abstract

The abilities to experience and understand another person’s feelings (empathy), to successfully cope with stress (resilience), and to harness personal skills (psychological strengths) are dynamic qualities that may be associated to an adolescent’s perception of care from others (i.e., family, friends, school staff, and significant others). Although the association of these different social sources have been studied independently, it has yet to be elucidated which of these sources is most highly associated to the presentation of these three qualities. For this study, high school students from a northern community completed a series of online questionnaires. A series of hierarchical regressions showed each source of care accounted for unique variance in the presentation of resilience and strengths, with perceived care from school staff and family accounting for the greatest variance, emphasizing the equal importance of examining the school and home environment. Further research is needed to understand how teachers and the school culture are associated with personal growth.

Keywords: adolescent growth, resilience, psychological strengths, positive psychology, social support

Les capacités de ressentir et de comprendre les sentiments d’autrui (l’empathie), de bien gérer le stress (la résilience) et d’exploiter ses compétences personnelles (forces psychologiques) sont des qualités dynamiques qui peuvent être associées à la perception qu’ont les adolescents des soins dispensés par les autres (c.-à-d., la famille, les amis, le personnel de l’école et l’être cher). Si l’association de ces différentes sources sociales a été étudiée indépendamment pour chacune d’elles, il reste à comprendre laquelle est la plus fortement liée aux trois qualités décrites ci-haut. Dans le cadre de cette étude, des élèves du secondaire provenant d’une communauté du nord ont complété une série de questionnaires en ligne. Une série de régressions hiérarchiques a démontré que chaque source de soins expliquait une variance unique dans la présentation de la résilience et des forces. Les soins perçus de la part du personnel de l’école et de la famille représentent la plus grande variance, ce qui souligne l’importance de se pencher tant sur le milieu scolaire que le milieu familial. Il faudrait mener des recherches plus poussées pour comprendre dans quelle mesure les enseignants et la culture scolaire sont associés à l’épanouissement personnel.

Mots clés: croissance des adolescents; résilience; forces psychologiques; psychologie positive; soutien social

Author Biographies

Tiffany SY Leung, Lakehead University

Tiffany Leung is a Clinical Psychology Doctoral Candidate at Lakehead University. Her research interests include the examination and application of resilience and psychological strengths in community populations and healthcare professionals, as well as the process by which those who have experienced trauma make meaning of their suffering.

Edward Rawana, Lakehead University

Edward Rawana is a Professor with the Department of Psychology at Lakehead University, a Professor at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, and the Director of the Centre of Education and Research on Positive Youth Development. His research and clinical interests involve the exploration and promotion of strength-based assessments and incorporating this information into practical methods that address issues of education, addiction, and mental health for children, adolescents, and their families.

Rupert Klein, Lakehead University

Rupert Klein is an Associate Professor with the Department of Psychology at Lakehead University. He is an experimental psychologist with a focus on personality theories and methodology and how they may be applied in real world settings. He is particularly interested in applying personality theory into understanding risk taking, helping behaviours and competition

Published
2020-06-15
Section
ARTICLES