• Kristian Riis Andreasen
  • Stine Juel Maretti
4. semester, Samfundsfag (cand.soc.), Kandidat (Kandidatuddannelse)
The growing mental discomfort among the youth, more specifically high school students in a Danish context has been on the rise for the last 10 years. The dominant explanation for this trend tends to be related to performance. Therefore, we reversed the question to illuminate why a still existing majority of high schoolers have a feeling of well-being even though they also feel the requirements to perform. The purpose of this thesis is to examine how Danish high school students experience the demands of the acceleration and performance society and in relation to these demands if they still have a predominant feeling of well-being. Lastly, we will investigate which coping strategies they use to be able to handle the pressure and demands they experience. This has been done through six semistructured, individual interviews with students attending a high school in the vicinity of Aalborg. The analysis is divided into three parts: (1) Where and how do the high school students experience the demand to perform and accelerate. This part is based on the theoretical work of Anders Petersen’s (2016) performance society and Hartmut Rosa’s (2014) acceleration society. (2) To establish how the students experience their well-being in a society characterized by acceleration and performance. This part will primarily be based on Sundhedsstyrelsen's definition of well-being which we reformulated in the interview guide, so the question suited the informants better. (3) What coping strategies do the students apply to handle the demands of performance and acceleration. This part of the analysis is grounded in Richard S. Lazarus and Susan Folkman’s (1984) theory about coping strategies, where the primary distinction is between emotional-focused and problem-focused coping and by extension their 8 sub-points.

The thesis concludes that the students primarily experience the demands for performance and acceleration in relation to school. This manifests itself in competition in the classroom where everyone is afraid to raise their hand in fear of being labelled as unintelligent. The demand for performance is also related to schoolwork where a fear of not being able to perform, can lead to an unsuccessful and unfulfilling life. The demands they experience primarily originate from themselves, which is a product of the individualisation, that they alone are the masters of their own fate and if they fail it’s all on them. The demand for acceleration they experience to a varying degree. They experience a feeling while at work, that they are missing out on more schoolwork and an imperative, that they can always do more. Despite all this, the consensus is that they still feel a predominantly degree of well-being. Lastly the thesis concludes that the informants use both emotional and problem oriented coping strategies, to handle the pressure and demands. The specific coping strategy they apply varies depending on the situation and how the stressful situation is experienced. In general, the students tend to use the coping strategies; distancing, planned problem-solving, escape/avoidance and social support. The following strategies will therefore be viewed as successful in relation to the informants because they aided them in dealing with the pressure. Lastly, we want to point out that in Rosa’s and Petersen’s theoretical framework and the coping strategies we identified, are not a solution to the problem, but can be used as a temporary relief to reduce stressful feelings.
Udgivelsesdato31 maj 2023
Antal sider100
ID: 532320604