Academic achievement in Norwegian secondary schools: the impact of violence during childhood

Abstract

Using data from a national survey (N = 6,979) of young people in their last year in Norwegian secondary schools in 2007 (aged 18 and 19), this paper examines the effect of experience of violence including sexual abuse during childhood (before the age of 13) on the later academic achievement of young people. This investigation includes three types of violence: non-physical, physical and sexual, and two types of victimisation: being abused and witness to abuse. First we investigate the relationship between the experience of various violent acts before the age of 13 and young people’s later academic achievement. Second, applying the structural equation modelling technique, we take into account the effect of background factors such as parents’ educational attainment and gender, and the effect of mediating factors such as social capital and educational motivation on the academic achievement of the young victims. The results show that exposure to violence during childhood not only directly influences young people’s educational outcomes but also exerts indirect influences on their achievement through its impact on young victims’ social relations and psychological health.

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Acknowledgments

This work was supported by research institute of NOVA-Norwegian Social Research and the Ministry of Children, Equality and Social Inclusion.

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Correspondence to Lihong Huang.

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Open Access This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0), which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.

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Huang, L., Mossige, S. Academic achievement in Norwegian secondary schools: the impact of violence during childhood. Soc Psychol Educ 15, 147–164 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11218-011-9174-y

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Keywords

  • Academic achievement
  • Violence and sexual abuse against children
  • Family socio-economic status
  • Social capital
  • Psychological health
  • Structural equation modelling (LISREL)