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When do pupils talk about their problems? Explaining pupils’ intentions to seek help from school social work services

Pfiffner, Roger; Windlinger, Regula (2023). When do pupils talk about their problems? Explaining pupils’ intentions to seek help from school social work services. Children and Youth Services Review, 152 Elsevier.

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School social work aims to be a low threshold point of contact and advice for pupils. In practice, however, pupils often avoid seeking help when needed. Although the factors that influence help-seeking are well established in the literature, there has been very little research on this for school social work. Adapting the behavioral model of health services use, the present study addresses this gap by examining individual and contextual factors promoting or inhibiting pupils’ intentions to seek help from social work services directly integrated into their schools. A total of 4,420 pupils (grades 5 to 9) from 32 schools in Switzerland completed a questionnaire in which they were asked how likely they would be to seek help when they face a family problem, peer problem, or difficulties in everyday school life they cannot solve on their own. Results from the multi-level analysis reveal
that, overall, pupils’ intentions to seek help are rather low. Predisposing factors and enabling factors influence willingness to seek help, with trust emerging as the most important facilitator. It is therefore important that all pupils can establish a trusting relationship with their school social worker and gain positive experiences with him
or her.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

PHBern Contributor:

Pfiffner, Roger, Windlinger, Regula, Hostettler, Ueli




[14 s 345 02] Kooperationsformen und Nutzungsstrukturen in der Schulsozialarbeit Official URL




Regula Windlinger

Date Deposited:

09 Oct 2023 12:37

Last Modified:

09 Oct 2023 12:37

Publisher DOI:

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Help-seeking intentions, Determinants, Trust, School social work, Pupils, Young people




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