Leaving and staying, an exploratory study of northern students' perceptions of school leaving stressors, the coping mechanisms they employ, and possible strategies for how stressors might be reduced

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MacDonald, Harold
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Students' perceptions of the stressors commonly considered to result in early school leaving by secondary school students are described and analyzed in this study. Thirty-two students at R. D. Parker Collegiate (RDPC) in Thompson, Manitoba identified school leaving stressors, described how they coped with them, and suggested how they might be reduced for students at risk of early school leaving. Two groups of students, those who had left school early and those who stayed in school, were included in the study in order to compare similarities and differences in the stressors they faced and the coping mechanisms they employed. A post hoc analysis of the data suggests that four groups of students were operative within the sample group. The four groups consisted of students who had (a) never experienced discontinuation from school, (b) been discontinued previously and returned to school, (c) been discontinued recently from school for the first time, and (d) experienced multiple discontinuations from school. Further analysis of these four groups was undertaken. Significant differences in the stressors faced by students in the different groups were discovered. The participants coping processes also were identified and analyzed qualitatively. Recommendations for initiatives to reduce school leaving stressors are made.