Barn og unge i fattige familier: Selvoppfattet skolekompetanse, etnisitet og akademisk resiliens. Hvilke faktorer kan fremme skoleprestasjoner hos barn og unge i risiko?
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The main aim of the thesis was to contribute to knowledge associated with factors promoting school competence in children and young people at risk. In the thesis, they are defined as children and young people in poor families with both ethnic Norwegian and minority backgrounds (article 1 and 2) and children and young people with an ethnic minority background in the Nordic countries (article 3). Poverty is defined as having a net income below 60 percent of median income during at least three years and is considered to be the most widely used target in Europe. The thesis uses resilience theory as an overall theoretical framework in combination with Bronfenbrennerʼs bioecological theory and model. Following this, both risk and protective factors are highlighted at different levels and in the systems surrounding the child. Through three studies, the thesis examines the following: (1) The relationship between poverty, socio-economic status and self-perceived school competence among children and young people from poor families in Norway (article 1) and (2) whether there are differences in self-perceived school competence between children and young people from poor families with an ethnic Norwegian background and ethnic minority backgrounds. Furthermore, one has investigated whether there are differences in parenting styles between the groups as the children assess it, and whether different parenting styles predict self-perceived school competence (article 2) and (3) which protective factors are linked to academic resilience among ethnic minority children and young people in the Nordic countries (article 3). Academic resilience is an area-specific type of resilience that refers to better school performance in children and young people who have experienced significant risk and adversity. In the first two articles, analyzes have been carried out of selected data from the prospective cohort study Childrenʼs Level of Living - The Impact of Family Economy for Children’s Lives, also abbreviated to Childrenʼs Level of Living (Sandbæk & Pedersen, 2010). The sample in article 1 consists of 261 young people in the age group 12-18 years with a family income below 60 per cent of national median income in the three-year period of 2005-2007 (low-income group) and 248 young people in the same age group from families with a family income across all income groups (comparison group). The sample in article 2 consists only of the low-income group; 138 young people with an ethnic Norwegian background and 123 young people with an ethnic minority background. The third article is a scoping review based on a literature review of 23 peer-reviewed articles. The main findings of the thesis are that poor children and young people from families with ethnic minority backgrounds do better than expected at school, measured in higher self-perceived school competence (articles 1 and 2) and academic resilience (article 3). The thesis further shows that children and young people who live with both parents have higher self-perceived school competence than children and young people who live with one parent or in other family structures (article 1) and that gender is important for school performance due to the fact that boys consider their own school competence higher than girlsʼ (article 1), while ethnic minority girls have a stronger school commitment than both majority and minority boys (article 3). The thesis also shows that a neglective parenting style predicts low self-perceived school competence in children and young people from poor families regardless of ethnic backgrounds (article 2). However, the thesis does not find differences in parental styles between the two groups as the children assess it. The thesis further finds that protective factors at the individual level are related to the fact that children and young people with an ethnic minority background have positive attitudes and high ambitions for school. In addition, they work hard at school (article 3). Furthermore, one finds that protective factors at the system level in the micro- and macrosystem, such as supportive parents, supportive school system and supportive networks are important. In addition, the findings indicate that the Nordic welfare state in itself may appear as a protective factor for poor children and young people with ethnic minority backgrounds (articles 1 and 3). The findings of the thesis have implications for politics, practice and further research. It is particularly pointed out that poor children and young people with an ethnic Norwegian background perform more poorly in terms of lower self-perceived school competence compared with their peers with an ethnic minority background. This knowledge is important to identify and strengthen protective factors at the individual level, but as well in the systems surrounding children and young people. The importance of comprehensive measures around poor families and the need for cross-sectoral cooperation at the meso-level are pointed out. The thesis also sheds light on the fact that there is a knowledge gap in the area of academic resilience in the Nordic countries that should be further explored. The knowledge of the factors which promote school performance and especially academic resilience may be relevant in practice to improve school performance for all children and young people, but especially among those who are at risk.
Has partsPaper I: Johnsen, A., Iversen, A. C., Lie, S. A. & Sandbæk, M. (2015). Does Poverty in a Scandinavian Welfare State Influence School Competence in Adolescents? Poverty & Public Policy, 7(3), 277-297. The article is available in the thesis. The article is also available at: https://doi.org/10.1002/pop4.106
Paper II: Johnsen, A., Bjørknes, R., Iversen, A. C. & Sandbæk, M. (2018). School Competence Among Adolescents in Low-Income Families: Does Parenting Style Matter? Journal of Child and Family Studies, 27(7), 2285-2294. The article is available at: https://hdl.handle.net/11250/2771301
Paper III: Johnsen, A., Ortiz-Barreda, G., Rekkedal, G. & Iversen, A. C. (2017). Minority Children and Academic Resilience in the Nordic Welfare States. International Journal of Migration, Health and Social Care, 13(4), 374-390. The article is available at: https://hdl.handle.net/11250/2771309