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Mental health, gender, and higher education attainment


Burger, Kaspar; Strassmann Rocha, Diego (2024). Mental health, gender, and higher education attainment. Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft, 27(1):89-122.

Abstract

We compared the mental health of higher education students with that of nonstudents. Moreover, we examined whether the mental health of students predicts their probability of obtaining a higher education degree, and whether the extent to which mental health affects educational attainment varies by gender. Drawing on a risk and resilience framework, we considered five facets of mental health that may be implicated in distinct ways in the educational attainment process: positive attitude towards life, self-esteem, self-efficacy, negative affectivity, and perceived stress. We used data from a nationally representative panel study from Switzerland (N$_{students}$ = 2070, 42.8% male; N$_{nonstudents}$ = 3755, 45.9% male). The findings suggest that overall, the mental health of higher education students was relatively similar to that of nonstudents, although students exhibited slightly higher self-esteem, slightly weaker self-efficacy, greater negative affectivity, and higher levels of perceived stress. The effects of different facets of mental health on higher education degree attainment were mostly statistically and/or practically insignificant. However, positive attitudes towards life had a substantial positive effect on the probability of being awarded a higher education degree. Mental health was equally important for male and female students’ educational attainment.

Abstract

We compared the mental health of higher education students with that of nonstudents. Moreover, we examined whether the mental health of students predicts their probability of obtaining a higher education degree, and whether the extent to which mental health affects educational attainment varies by gender. Drawing on a risk and resilience framework, we considered five facets of mental health that may be implicated in distinct ways in the educational attainment process: positive attitude towards life, self-esteem, self-efficacy, negative affectivity, and perceived stress. We used data from a nationally representative panel study from Switzerland (N$_{students}$ = 2070, 42.8% male; N$_{nonstudents}$ = 3755, 45.9% male). The findings suggest that overall, the mental health of higher education students was relatively similar to that of nonstudents, although students exhibited slightly higher self-esteem, slightly weaker self-efficacy, greater negative affectivity, and higher levels of perceived stress. The effects of different facets of mental health on higher education degree attainment were mostly statistically and/or practically insignificant. However, positive attitudes towards life had a substantial positive effect on the probability of being awarded a higher education degree. Mental health was equally important for male and female students’ educational attainment.

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Additional indexing

Other titles:Psychische Gesundheit, Geschlecht und Hochschulabschluss
Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Sociology
06 Faculty of Arts > Jacobs Center for Productive Youth Development
Dewey Decimal Classification:370 Education
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Education
Uncontrolled Keywords:Tertiary education, Risk/resilience, Gender, Sociology, Panel study, Life course
Language:English
Date:1 February 2024
Deposited On:13 Sep 2023 12:05
Last Modified:29 Jun 2024 01:38
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:1434-663X
OA Status:Hybrid
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s11618-023-01187-3
PubMed ID:38496784
Project Information:
  • : FunderUniversity of Zurich
  • : Grant ID
  • : Project Title
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)