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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 33  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 359-364

Resilience and perceived social support among school-going adolescents in Mangaluru

School of Social Work, Roshni Nilaya, Mangaluru, Karnataka, India

Date of Web Publication17-Nov-2017

Correspondence Address:
Sphoorthi G Prabhu
P.G. Dept. of Social Work, Research Scholar, School of Social Work, Oshni Nilaya, Mangaluru
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijsp.ijsp_108_16

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Background: Resilience building interventions are gaining popularity, and the same needs to be enforced. However, considering the effectiveness of a programme after a need assessment, understanding the extent of resilience and the related construct of perceived social support (PSS) becomes imperative. Hence, this study aimed at assessing the resilience and PSS among school-going adolescents. Objectives: The objectives of the study were to assess the Perceived Stress, PSS, to understand the gender differences in level of PSS and resilience among school going adolescents in Mangaluru city of Southern India. Materials and Methods: A cross- sectional descriptive research design was used. School-going adolescents from grades 810th of the four schools of Mangaluru city were selected through convenient sampling (n = 206). Data were collected through self-administered scales. Descriptive statistics and t-test were applied. Results: The mean age of the study sample was 14.10 (±0.896) years. Adolescents had mild level of perceived stress, high PSS, and moderate resilience. Significant difference was noted between boys and girls in the global PSS and PSS from friends and significant others and resilience. Conclusions: The moderate resilience highlights the scope for resilience building programmes in schools of Mangaluru. Furthermore, the gender differences in the measured competencies indicate the need to develop gender-specific intervention packages.

Keywords: Adolescents, mental health programmes, perceived social support, resilience, stress

How to cite this article:
Prabhu SG, Shekhar R. Resilience and perceived social support among school-going adolescents in Mangaluru. Indian J Soc Psychiatry 2017;33:359-64

How to cite this URL:
Prabhu SG, Shekhar R. Resilience and perceived social support among school-going adolescents in Mangaluru. Indian J Soc Psychiatry [serial online] 2017 [cited 2022 Jan 22];33:359-64. Available from: https://www.indjsp.org/text.asp?2017/33/4/359/218593

  Introduction Top

Adolescence as “a phase of stress and storm” is a popular phrase. The evidence that behavior and psychological problems commonly develop during the adolescence period [1] substantiates this phrase. Globally, 10-20% of children and adolescents experience mental health problems.[2] In India, the prevalence of child and adolescent psychiatric disorders is on the rise. A recent research showed the prevalence of mental disorders among adolescents (13-17 years) to be 7.3%[3] in India. This highlights the need to emphasize more on primary prevention of mental illness and promotion of mental health, which is possible through the enhancement of various protective factors.

A protective factor is one that interacts with the risk factor and buffers the effect of stress, aiding in healthy development of an adolescent. They contribute to the development of resilience, which in turn ensures mental health, irrespective of the adversities experienced.[4] This reflects the increased scope for mental health promotive programmes.

As a part of the school mental health programme, life skill education and training, recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO), is widely delivered, researched, and improvised globally and in India. Indian studies on life skill education/training in schools by Behrani,[5] Parvathy and Renjith,[6] Pujar et al.,[7] Khera and Khosla,[8] and Srikala and Kumar [9] are indicative of the same. Similarly, in Mangaluru, studies by Monteiro and Shetty,[10] Shekhar and Lobo,[11] and Monteiro [12] are evidences regarding the implementation of life skills programmes in schools of Mangaluru. In addition, resilience building programmes are gaining momentum corroborated by Indian research studies by Leventhal et al.,[13] Pareek and Mohan,[14] Sankaranarayanan and Cycil,[15] and Andrew.[16] In this context, understanding the stress, resilience, and the related protective factors among school-going adolescent girls and boys is imperative, based on which apt gender and need-based promotive programmes can be designed.

Most of the research studies in India have studied these three variables separately. School-going adolescent's stress is measured either objectively [17],[18],[19],[20] or through one's subjective perception.[21],[22],[23] Likewise, the studies pertaining to PSS have examined the association between PSS and other constructs.[24],[25],[26],[27]

As far as research studies on resilience among children and adolescents are concerned, most of the researches have examined the association between resilience and other related constructs.[28],[29],[30],[31],[32] A few other studies have explored the determinants of resilience.[33],[34] As mentioned earlier, studies on resilience building are gaining momentum in India lately. However, most of these studies include children or adolescents from objectively evident adverse situations. Very few are conducted among school-going adolescents.

To our knowledge, research on school-going adolescents' perceived stress, resilience, and PSS have not been conducted in Mangaluru. Understanding all these is significant in designing resilience building programmes, considering the significant implications of these programmes.

With this background, the current study intended to understand resilience and PSS-a protective factor in school-going adolescents in Mangaluru, Karnataka, South India, where school mental health programmes are widely recognized and conducted. This study would enable the development of an apt resilience building module for the school-going adolescent girls and boys of Mangaluru.

Resilience refers to the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or even significant sources of stress-such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems, or workplace and financial stressors. It means “bouncing back” from difficult experiences.[35] Although resilience is commonly discussed in the context of risk situations or adversities, it is also measured in stress situations.[36] PSS is the support that a person believes they are receiving,[37] commonly measured in the population experiencing adversities. Resilience and PSS was taken into consideration on account of their significance during adolescence [24] and their implications in designing a need and gender-based promotional intervention programmes (in case of any gender differences) for adolescents in Mangaluru. Therefore, the study objectives were to assess the level of perceived stress, resilience, and PSS among adolescents and to understand the gender differences in the level of PSS and resilience.

  Subjects and Methods Top

A cross-sectional descriptive research design was used in this study. The school-going adolescents of Mangaluru city were the target population. The study population was adolescents of grades 8-10th of four nongovernmental schools (Coded here as A, B, C, and D) of Mangaluru city. Schools A, C, and D were nonprofit schools catering to the needs of students from middle and lower socioeconomic status. School B is a Parochial school which has students from high profile families as well. All the schools except School B (girls only) were coeducation. 25.7% of the participants were from school A, 45.6% from B, 22.8% from C, and 5.8% were from school D.

With 98% confidence level and 90% power with reference to r = 0.6,[38] the calculated sample size was 206, where, 2α = 1.96 at 95% confidence level and Zβ = 1.28 at 90% power.[38] Convenient sampling technique was used, i.e., the students who gave their assent, whose parents had consented, and who were allowed to participate by the school authority were included. Considering the participation of limited schools, the condition by these school authorities to include all the students and the absence of large data, random selection of sample or data was not possible.

After obtaining approval from the Institutional Ethics Committee, informed consent from parents and adolescent assent were taken before the data collection.


The data was collected using the below-mentioned scales.

The 6-item Brief Resilience Scale [39] with 5-point Likert rating was used. Mean scores under 3 were considered to be low resilience score and above 4.30 to be high. This scale demonstrates good internal consistency with the Cronbach Alpha value of 0.80–0.91. Convergent and discriminant predictive validity also has been established. For the current study, the adolescents had to consider a severe stress situation while responding to this scale.

Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support (MSPSS): This 7-point Likert type rating scale comprising 12 items developed by Zimet et al.,[40] was used to measure PSS among adolescents. This has three subscales ” PSS from family, friends, and significant others. The mean scale and subscale scores range 1–7 where scores between 1 to 2.9 is low PSS, 3–5 is moderate PSS, and 5.1–7 is high PSS. The internal consistency reliability is 0.88.

Perceived Stress Scale: This 10-item scale developed by Cohen et al.,[41] was used for measuring the perception of one's level of stress in terms of unpredictability, lack of control, and overload. It is used among both clinical and general population.[42] As it is considered to be a measure which is sensitive to nonoccurrence of events, it includes items to measure stress without a predetermined stressor,[43] is cross-culturally valid, and is used with different population,[44] including adolescents both internationally and in India,[22],[45],[46] this scale was considered. The generally followed norm is as follows: Each item is rated on a 5-point scale of “Never,” “Almost Never,” “Sometimes,” “Fairly Often,” and “Very Often” scored from 0 to 4. Items 4, 5, 7, and 8 are positive items which are reverse scored from 4 to 0. Thus, the total score ranges from a minimum of 0 and maximum of 40. Therefore, higher scores were considered to be indicating higher perceived stress. The reliability is established through the alpha value of 0.78.

These scales can be self administered. However, in this study, a group interview technique was followed, whereby the respondents were explained each item of each scale by the researcher who is a Mental Health Professional. This was done to facilitate reliable data and to avoid random responses or other response bias.

The data was analyzed using descriptive statistics and t-test. The Statistical Package for the Social Sciences version 19 was used for analysis SPSS South Asia Pvt Ltd., Kacharakanahalli, Bangalore, India.

  Results Top

The sociodemographic profile of the respondents, represented in [Table 1], show that, of the 206 respondents, 56.8% were girls and 43.2% were boys, of which majority were 14 years old (54.4%). The mean age was 14.10 (± 0.896) years. Majority of the participants belonged to the Hindu (48.1%) and Muslim (30.1%) religion.
Table 1: Sociodemographic profile of the respondents

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The occupation of the parents, that point out to the economic status, is represented in [Table 2]. It shows that 35.9% of the respondents' fathers were into organized sectors, which involve the teaching profession, medical, and paramedical professionals, as well as working in other firms. Significant proportion were also involved in business (24.8%) and unorganized occupation (24.3%). A total of 73.8% mothers were homemakers, corroborating that majority of the families had single earning members (73.3%).
Table 2: Parental background

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[Table 3] highlights that the adolescents had mild stress indicated by a mean score of 17.71. The PSS from family, friends, and significant others was high, resulting in high global PSS. In general, adolescence is considered to be a stage where peer support is perceived to be higher by adolescents than support from others. However, contrary to this, results show that the support from family was perceived to be slightly higher than from friends indicated by the mean scores of 5.9551. The adolescents' moderate resilience was reflected by the mean resilience score of 3.0413.
Table 3: Level of perceived stress, perceived social support, and resilience

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As seen in [Table 4], there was significant difference, according to gender, in the overall PSS indicated by the significance value of <0.001. In addition, there was also a significant difference between adolescent girls and boys in PSS from friends and significant others such as teachers or anyone from the community irrespective of age. As reflected by the mean scores, girls perceived better support from significant others and friends than boys. Likewise, there were differences in resilience according to gender. Boys were observed to have high resilience scores than girls. However, there was no significant difference in PSS from family among girls and boys.
Table 4: Descriptive and independent samples t-test statistics for differences in the level of perceived social support and resilience by gender

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  Discussion Top

Adolescence is considered to be the peak age of developing psychiatric disorders.[47] Recent studies have been exploring the biological factors for the adolescent issues to take apt measures to address the same. In addition, other factors such as PSS and the extent to which one can be resilient, has an equally significant role.

The mean age of the group of 14.10 years indicate the sample being representative of adolescents belonging to the mid-adolescence phase. The occupation of the parents was indicative of the sample being representative of the adolescents from middle socioeconomic families from urban Mangaluru.

The adolescents had mild perceived stress level. Adolescent stress can be caused by phase-related issues and other external factors. Mid-adolescence phase is considered to be one when the commonly known adolescent issues tend to crop up.[48] The ambivalence, emotional turmoil, conflicts, and dealing with peer pressure are common stage-related factors for stress. External factors such as academics and one's socioeconomic status can be a stress-contributing factor. As far as socioeconomic cause is concerned, the literature majorly points out to higher stress in adolescents belonging to lower socioeconomic status.[49] Although literature does not clearly mention about the adolescents belonging to the middle socioeconomic status, it can be interpreted that adolescents belonging to these families may witness financial challenges in certain circumstances and experience diverse consequences of the same. These families may be unable to meet their materialistic needs when compared to adolescents of higher socioeconomic families. This could be significant in adolescents from urban areas who value materialistic possessions, which can have an indirect effect on one's identity. It is believed that possessions have a significant role in creating, maintaining, and preserving ones identity.[50] Although the adolescents were exposed to various stressors, as mentioned above, their mild perceived stress is indicative of efficient coping skills.

The PSS, on the other hand, is high. Compared to the PSS from friends and significant others, the PSS from family was seen to be higher. This can be attributed to the cultural factor wherein continued family involvement even at this stage could make the adolescent perceive to have better support from family than others. Moreover, the adolescents may be experiencing issues which can be addressed with only family's intervention rather than from others. As reported by the available literature, adolescents tend to seek support from parents for issues that others cannot help.[51] This again throws light on the seriousness of issues experienced by an adolescent, their effective coping, and role of family.

With regard to the differences in PSS by gender, there is a significant difference in the overall perception of social support, which is consistent with earlier findings.[52] PSS of girls was higher than boys. Likewise, significant gender differences were observed in PSS from friends and significant others. This can be attributed to the gender differences in socialization and social roles, as established by literature.[53] No significant differences were found in PSS from family between boys and girls. The changing adolescent needs, the changing issues, and inability of others outside the family to address the same may make the adolescent boys and girls perceive family support in a similar manner. The cultural factors should also be considered.

As far as gender difference in resilience is concerned, there is significant gender difference in the same. This is in concordance with existing literature that resilience differs with gender.[54],[55],[56],[57],[58],[59],[60],[61],[62] Biological theories point out to genetic disposition among males to be more resilient than females. In addition, the existence of gendered social psychological resources contribute to the gender differences.[63] In India, with the differences in gender socialization, these differences are natural.

Thus, the school-going adolescents belonging to the mid-adolescence phase from middle socioeconomic status of urban Mangaluru have low perceived stress, moderate resilience, and high PSS. There is significant difference according to gender in the overall PSS, PSS from friends and significant others, and resilience. The moderate level of resilience highlights the scope of resilience building programmes. The gender differences indicate the need to design gender-specific mental health promotional programmes. The sampling technique and coverage of schools have been study limitations.

  Conclusions Top

Mental health promotional programmes have gained momentum and are frequently implemented. Theoretically, these programmes are based on strength-based perspective. However, when the interventions provided are need-based, they tend to be more effective.[1] Likewise, when there are gender differences, developing gender-specific intervention programmes become imperative. Thus, the current study throws light on the perceived stress, PSS, and resilience; the gender differences in the same among school-going adolescents in Mangaluru and highlights the scope of adolescent resilience building programmes in Mangaluru. While the overall gender differences in resilience is reflected in the current study, further exploration regarding the differences in determinants of resilience could enable preparation of a module for the adolescents of Mangaluru.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

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  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4]

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