Reading Skills, Social Competence, and Physiological Stress in the First Grade
Jõgi, A.-L., Pakarinen, E., Tolvanen, A., & Lerkkanen, M.-K. (2022). Reading Skills, Social Competence, and Physiological Stress in the First Grade. School Mental Health, 14(3), 624-639. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12310-021-09487-x
Published inSchool Mental Health
© 2021 the Authors
An awareness of school-related antecedents of children’s physiological stress at the beginning of school helps educators to prevent and mitigate children’s stress, the one of the major obstacles to their well-being and academic progress. We aimed to study the effect of reading skills and social competence on first-grade students’ salivary cortisol levels in natural settings. Based on previous results of the effects of everyday situations on children’s stress according to gender, we expected that both academic and social skills would affect girls’ physiological stress more, compared to boys. Our sample consisted of 277 students (7–8 years old, 50.2% girls). We used the highest salivary cortisol level of three morning samples and a cortisol level from the middle of the school day as physiological stress indicators. Reading skills were assessed by group-administered tests and social competence by teacher ratings. We found that lower reading comprehension skills and lower disruptiveness were related to higher cortisol levels for girls but not for boys. Higher empathy and lower disruptiveness moderated the effect of better reading comprehension on higher psychological stress in the middle of the school day only for girls. By recognizing the antecedents of children’s stress and supporting their academic and social skills, children’s, especially girls’, physiological self-regulation and coping skills in the primary grades will benefit. ...
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media LLC
ISSN Search the Publication Forum1866-2625
Publication in research information system
MetadataShow full item record
Related funder(s)Finnish Work Environment Fund; Academy of Finland; Ella ja Georg Ehrnrooth Foundation
Funding program(s)Others; Academy Project, AoF
Additional information about fundingOpen Access funding provided by University of Jyväskylä (JYU). This study was funded by grants from the Finnish Work Environment Fund (2017–2020), the Ella and Georg Ehrnrooth Foundation (2017–2018), the Academy of Finland (2018–2022, #317610), and the Faculty of Education and Psychology, University of Jyväskylä.
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