Adolescent social and emotional wellbeing in Abu Dhabi: socio-cultural determinants of mental health and their relationship to help-seeking behaviour in educational settings: a mixed method exploration

McMillan, Kate (2020) Adolescent social and emotional wellbeing in Abu Dhabi: socio-cultural determinants of mental health and their relationship to help-seeking behaviour in educational settings: a mixed method exploration. [Thesis (PhD/Research)]

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Abstract

This thesis is an investigation into adolescent social and emotional wellbeing, exploring socio-cultural determinants of mental health and their relationship to help-seeking behaviour in educational settings, and involved two studies. Study 1 examines school counsellor perspectives and Study 2, the adolescent experience. The research explores the prevalence of mental health difficulties experienced by young people aged 15 to 18 years (N = 333), using the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (Goodman, Meltzer & Bailey, 1998), and the Health of the Nation Outcome Scales (Growers, et al., 1998). Adolescent wellbeing is measured using the Brief Multidimensional Student Life Satisfaction Survey (Bickman, et al., 2010), and attitudes to help-seeking are examined utilising the Beliefs about Psychological Services (Ægisdóttir & Gerstein, 2009). A focus group of school counsellors (N = 23) provided quantitative and qualitative data, contributing the nature, incidence and impact of mental health difficulties, and impediments to accessing psychological services in educational settings.

Key findings indicate both gender and cultural background influence wellbeing, mental health, and beliefs about psychological services. Impediments to help-seeking include parental perceptions of mental health, and perceived lack of confidentiality, while students report high levels of shame, stigma, and lack of family support. Students present with levels of need which align to international prevalence rates for emotional, conduct and peer difficulties, and report the lowest levels of life satisfaction in the domains of school experience and where they live.

The practical implications of these findings are relevant to school leaders, school counsellors, adjunct specialist psychological services, families, and adolescents. It is evident that schools should provide access to mental health support services, the nature of which should reflect presenting needs, be delivered in a manner that integrates socio-cultural factors and belief systems, sensitive and responsive to the international “third-culture” experienced by many adolescents in the UAE. Working within this context will improve outcomes, reduce the long-term impact of emerging mental health difficulties, and promote wellbeing in the UAE.


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Item Type: Thesis (PhD/Research)
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Doctor of Education thesis.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Education (1 Jul 2019 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Education (1 Jul 2019 -)
Supervisors: Beccaria, Gavin; McIlveen, peter
Date Deposited: 25 Jun 2021 05:15
Last Modified: 23 Jun 2022 22:05
Uncontrolled Keywords: mental health, adolescent, well-being, help-seeking, counselling, UAE, United Arab Emirates
Fields of Research (2008): 13 Education > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130305 Educational Counselling
Fields of Research (2020): 44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4409 Social work > 440902 Counselling, wellbeing and community services
Identification Number or DOI: doi:10.26192/farg-4559
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/42469

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