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An exploration of anxiety problems in a secondary school

Barrett, Anna Frances; (2017) An exploration of anxiety problems in a secondary school. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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This research explores the identification of anxiety problems within the context of a girls’ secondary school in the South of England. A qualitative methodology was adopted using semi-structured interviews and group interviews to explore the perceptions of staff and pupils. These were transcribed and thematically analysed following the six-stage model as advocated by Braun and Clarke. Phase 1 involved exploring staff perceptions about how anxiety problems present and are identified in pupils, as well as what the facilitators and barriers are for this process. It was found that there was good understanding amongst staff about the presentation of anxiety problems and a clear understanding of the processes that followed when anxiety problems were identified. The main facilitator for identifying problems was the multiple information gathering that existed within the school and the main barrier was the fact that the school was not actively looking for anxiety problems. Phase 2 of the research involved carrying out semi-structured interviews with two groups of Year 11 pupils to explore if their perceptions were congruent with Phase 1. The biggest barriers to the pupils disclosing problems were the school’s policy to always inform parents and the stigma they felt was associated with having a mental health problem. They also expressed mixed views about the school’s efforts to provide mental health education and promote resilience showing a suspicion that the underlying agenda was still about educational outcomes. The research supports the introduction of universal screening approaches within schools to gather information over time which informs a comprehensive wellbeing strategy with a graduated response to need. It also highlights the importance of gathering the views of pupils around the practices and culture of school life. Educational psychologists are well placed to support schools in these endeavours

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: An exploration of anxiety problems in a secondary school
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Keywords: Anxiety, schools
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10025071
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