CitationWatt, Toni Terling (2003). Are small schools and private schools better for adolescents' emotional adjustment?. Sociology of Education. vol. 76 (4) pp. 344-367
AbstractSchool organization has been examined largely for its effects on academic achievement. Insufficient attention has been devoted to the school as a sociological context that influences adolescents' mental health. It is often asserted that small schools and private schools offer a unique sense of community that is conducive to adolescents' emotional adjustment, but empirical evidence of these mental health benefits is sparse. This study used the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health (Add Health) to determine whether adolescents are protected in small and/or private schools, examining depression, suicidality, and violent dis-positions. The results refute claims that students who attend these types of schools have better emotional adjustment than do those who attend large and/or public schools. In
addition, the results suggest that small schools and private schools may actually be detrimental to adolescents' mental health. That is, net of selection effects, small schools are associated with higher levels of depression and a greater likelihood of attempted suicide for male students. In addition, private schools are associated with increased odds of the use or threat of use of weapons by both male and female students.