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Prev Med. 2016 Jun;87:11-17. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2016.02.010. Epub 2016 Feb 12.

Does socioeconomic status moderate the relationships between school connectedness with psychological distress, suicidal ideation and attempts in adolescents?

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Ottawa Public Health, 100 Constellation Crescent, Ottawa, Ontario K2G 6J8, Canada. Electronic address:
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.



Research has indicated that school connectedness acts as a buffer against depressive symptoms and suicidality. However, little is known about the role of socioeconomic status (SES) on these links. The present study examined the moderating role of subjective SES and parental education on the relationships between school connectedness and psychological distress, suicidal ideation and suicide attempts.


Data were gathered from 4955 participants within the 2013 cycle of the Ontario Students Drug Use and Health Survey, a province-wide repeated school-based survey of students in grade 7 to 12 across Ontario, Canada.


Results indicated that higher subjective SES is associated with high levels of school connectedness. Subjective SES is also a significant moderator of the association between school connectedness and psychological distress, but not between school connectedness and suicidal ideation or attempts. At low subjective SES, there was no difference in risk of psychological distress between students with high and low levels of school connectedness. However, at higher subjective SES, students with high levels of school connectedness have lower odds of psychological distress than those with low levels of school connectedness. The associations between school connectedness and each of the mental health outcomes did not significantly vary with parental education.


These findings suggest that the beneficial effects of school connectedness on mental health problems may be more strongly related to adolescents' status beliefs rather than parental education. Future research is needed to better understand the mechanism through which subjective SES and school connectedness influence psychological distress.


Adolescents; Psychological distress; School connectedness; Suicidal ideation; Suicide attempt

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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