English summaries

English Summaries (01/2024)

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Eija Sevón

Who is entitled to be a mother? Moral tensions in the narratives of Finnish single mothers by choice

Single mothers by choice are women who have consciously decided to have a child or children with assisted reproductive technologies or adoption independently. When the pathway to parenthood departs from the cultural moral order, tensions between ethical “good” and moral “right” occur. The present study applied a narrative approach and Taylor’s idea of moral-ethic division of the reflexive self to explore the narratives of Finnish women who identified themselves as single mothers by choice and the moral tensions that could be recognised from the ethical-moral reflections of their maternal identities. The data comprised accounts produced in 22 narrative interviews with self-identified single mothers. Three moral tensions could be found: responsible choice vs. risk for the child, juridical, social and psychological parenthood vs. genetic and biological parenthood and single motherhood vs. coupled parenthood. These moral tensions showed the social and cultural space for single mothers by choice, which is shaped by cultural solid norms related to, first, the ideal family conception based on the couple relationship, and second, the best interest of the child and the child’s well-being. Nonetheless, these women in their maternal narratives also consciously resisted these cultural and social norms and expanded and made visible diverse ways of family formation and mothering.

Keywords: family conceptions, morality, narrative research, parental identity, reproductive justice, single mothers by choice

Jaana Blom

“Strong, cool-headed and tough” – Descriptions of the demandingness of an athlete in short-term integrative psychotherapy

Sporting success requires an athlete who demands a lot from themselves and their development, despite the potential risks to mental health. The purpose of this study was to examine the development of an athlete’s demandingness in light of Kernberg’s theory of object relations and cognitive-constructivist theory, especially eating disorder organisation. This is a single-informant case study on demandingness, utilizing data from athlete “Aatu’s” short-term integrative psychotherapy. The main focus was on vignettes presenting the athlete’s demandingness and its development. The results indicated a requirement to win as a coercive mechanism, serving the function of a rigid defensive operation and embodying a vague sense of self. Clinical implications and future research directions are considered.

Keywords: athlete, demandingness, short-term integrative therapy, object relations theory, eating disorder organisation

Ida Huttunen, Katja Upadyaya & Katariina Salmela-Aro

Socio-emotional skill profiles and school engagement among Finnish 8th grade students in autumn 2020 during COVID-19

The goal of this study was to identify profiles regarding the socio-emotional skills among 8th grade Finnish students in autumn 2020 during COVID-19. Further, this study examined how students’ socio-emotional profiles differed in terms of school engagement and gender. The data were collected from 981 students (of which 53.8% were females, 43.7% males and 2.5% non-binary or missing) from Helsinki metropolitan area. Using two-step cluster analysis, four socio-emotional profiles were identified: high academic buoyancy and high belongingness (30%), low socio-emotional skills (27%), high grit, high curiosity and high belongingness (23%), and high socio-emotional skills (20%) profiles. Girls were more likely to belong to the high grit, high curiosity and high belongingness profile or to the low socio-emotional skills profile, whereas boys were more likely to belong to the high academic buoyancy and high belongingness profile or to the high socio-emotional skills profile. The students in the high socio-emotional skills profile reported the highest amount of school engagement and the students in the low socio-emotional skills profile reported the lowest amount of school engagement in autumn 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. These findings imply that students have different strengths in socio-emotional skills that can manifest as differences in school engagement.

Keywords: socio-emotional skills, school wellbeing, resources, adolescents, COVID-19 pandemic

Mira Känsäkoski & Riikka Mononen

Math anxiety and its relation to math performance in the third grade

Math anxiety has been linked to weaker performance in several studies, but studies concerning primary school students are still limited. The aim of this study was to investigate if there are differences in math performance between the groups having math anxiety and not having math anxiety, when also controlling for gender and age. The participants were 204 Norwegian third graders (M age = 8 y 10 m). Students took a questionnaire of math anxiety. Based on that, two groups were formed: those with math anxiety (= 21) and those without math anxiety (= 183). Math performance measures included addition and subtraction fluency tests and a third-grade curriculum-based math test. The students having math anxiety showed weaker performance on all measured math skills than those without math anxiety, also when gender and age were controlled. This study showed that some students experience math anxiety already in early grades and it is associated with weaker performance. For this reason, students’ math anxiety and weak performance should be identified already in early grades in order to provide appropriate educational support.

Keywords: arithmetic, gender differences, math anxiety, mathematics performance