Revisiting the Concept of School Connectedness: Is School Connectedness an Attribute of Schools, and Does Its Protectiveness Against Risky Health Behaviours Vary Between Schools?
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Objective: School connectedness has been found to be protective against negative health behaviours for adolescents. This study assesses 1) the extent that school connectedness is an attribute of the school, and 2) whether the protective associations of school connectedness with risky sexual and drinking behaviours are heterogeneous across schools. Methods: In manuscript one, school connectedness was modelled as a random intercept. In manuscript two, school connectedness was modelled as a random coefficient, and risk behaviour was modelled as a random intercept. The percent of variation explained by school was estimated before and after adjustment for student background variables. Results: Little variation in school connectedness or its protectiveness against sexual risk could be attributed to school differences. However, this study demonstrates that dependant on the school, school connectedness may be protective or a risk factor for binge drinking. Conclusion: Future research should move away from a unitary concept of school connectedness.
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