An investigation of the relationship among wellness, perceived stress, mattering, and at-risk status for dropping out of high school
Lemon, Jan Cummins
AdvisorWatson, C. Joshua
Underwood, Ray Joe
High school dropout continues to be an issue of national concern, and the inability of educators and researchers to find means of effectively reducing the dropout rate may be grounded in their approach to understanding this issue. Because there is limited prior research in addressing wellness, perceived stress, and mattering in relationship to at-risk status for dropping out of high school, this study concentrates on the gap in the educational and counseling literature documenting the extent to which these variables can contribute to the prediction of students who are at risk of dropping out of high school. Specifically, wellness, perceived stress, mattering, and at-risk status for dropping out of high school were assessed across 175 students attending a medium-sized high school located in the southeastern part of the United States. Parental informed consent documents and adult student consent documents were obtained primary to gathering data. Packets were administered to each participating student containing a minor assent document to be completed by minor students and removed by adult students, a demographic questionnaire, the Five Factor Wellness Inventory-Teenage Version, the Student At-Risk Identification Scale-Student Questionnaire, the General Mattering Scale, and the Perceived Stress Scale. There were 2 hypotheses considered in this study. First, a significant relationship was posited between the 5 second-order variables of wellness, perceived stress, mattering, and at-risk status for dropping out of high school. This hypothesis was supported with all variables correlating significantly. Second, an overall regression model with 7 predictors (the 5 second-order factors of wellness: creative self, coping self, social self, essential self, and physical self; perceived stress; and mattering) was expected to significantly predict at-risk status for dropping out of high school. Regression analysis revealed that the complete model including all seven predictor variables significantly predicted at-risk status for dropping out of high school, F(7, 167) = 12.89, p < .05. This model accounts for 35.1% of the variance in at-risk status for dropping out of high school. Thus, this hypothesis also was supported. These findings indicate that counselors should utilize skills and interventions that help students stay engaged in the academic process.