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Playing the complex game of social status in school: a qualitative study
Department of Epidemiology and Global Health, Umeå University; Center for Clinical Research Dalarna-Uppsala University, Falun.
Dalarna University, School of Education, Health and Social Studies, Social Work.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0106-2839
Department of Epidemiology and Global Health, Umeå University; Umeå Centre for Gender Studies, Umeå University.
Dalarna University, School of Education, Health and Social Studies, Caring Science/Nursing.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4013-1553
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2020 (English)In: Global Health Action, ISSN 1654-9716, E-ISSN 1654-9880, Vol. 13, no 1, article id 1819689Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background

Research suggests that social status in school plays an important role in the social lives of adolescents and that their social status is associated with their health. Additional knowledge about adolescents? understanding of social hierarchies could help to explain inequalities in adolescents? health and guide public health interventions.

Objective

The study aimed to explore what contributes to subjective social status in school and the strategies used for social positioning.

Methods

A qualitative research design with think-aloud interviews was used. The study included 57 adolescents in lower (7th grade) and upper secondary school (12th grade) in Sweden. Subjective social status was explored using a slightly modified version of the MacArthur Scale of Subjective Social Status in school. Data were analyzed using thematic network analysis.

Results

The participants were highly aware of their social status in school. Elements tied to gender, age, ethnicity and parental economy influenced their preconditions in the positioning. In addition, expectations on how to look, act and interact, influenced the pursue for social desirability. The way these different factors intersected and had to be balanced suggests that social positioning in school is complex and multifaceted.

Conclusions

Because the norms that guided social positioning left little room for diversity, the possible negative impact of status hierarchies on adolescents? health needs to be considered. In school interventions, we suggest that norms on e.g. gender and ethnicity need to be addressed and problematized from an intersectional approach.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2020. Vol. 13, no 1, article id 1819689
Keywords [en]
Subjective social status; popularity; gendered norms; health; adolescent; intersectionality
National Category
Health Sciences Social Work
Research subject
Research Profiles 2009-2020, Health and Welfare
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:du-35144DOI: 10.1080/16549716.2020.1819689ISI: 000574933100001Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85092008922OAI: oai:DiVA.org:du-35144DiVA, id: diva2:1473811
Available from: 2020-10-07 Created: 2020-10-07 Last updated: 2023-01-17

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Randell, EvaFlacking, RenéeJerdén, Lars

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
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  • Other style
More styles
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