Understanding Mental Well-Being of Youth in Nova Scotia: A Focus on the Influence of Lining in Poverty, Sex, and Gender

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Haidar, Pascale Marie
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Mount Saint Vincent University
Mental well-being is a predictor of life satisfaction, academic achievement, and self-esteem but little is known about the mental well-being of Nova Scotian youth. Additionally, socioeconomic status can be a predictor of life satisfaction, leaving some individuals at a disadvantage. The current study aimed to explore the mental well-being of Nova Scotian youth and the extent to which well-being might differ across the sex and gender spectrum, and across economic factors, with a specific focus on understanding youth living in poverty. Participants were aged between 16 and 19 years old and completed a survey asking about their mental well-being, beliefs about social mobility, and subjective social status. No caregivers participated in the study; therefore, socioeconomic status was unable to be calculated. Rather, asking youth about their beliefs about social mobility and their subjective social status informed the research question. Regression analyses were planned but not possible, therefore, bivariate correlations were calculated to assess initial linear relations. The findings indicate that Nova Scotian youth do not all have good mental well-being (M = 46.45). There was a significant positive correlation between mental well-being and both youth subjective social status in comparison to others at their school and subjective family social status in comparison to Canadian society. Social mobility beliefs were not found to significantly predict mental well-being. Allowing youth to voice their needs will provide the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development with the information needed to make schools an environment where Nova Scotian youth can thrive and live fulfilling lives.
Mental well being, Nova Scotia, social mobility