How are you doing? The emotional cost of being a good student for the 15-year-olds in Hong Kong

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University of New Brunswick


This study explores the subjective well-being, psychological well-being, and social well-being of 15-year-old students in Hong Kong by using public data from Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2018. This study provides an empirical analysis of the sociocultural notion of the ‘good students’ and aims to reveal the emotional costs among students. It was found that high performers struggled with subjective well-being and were least satisfied with their current lives while low performers had poor psychological well-being and poor social well-being. Normal performers maintained the highest in all three types of well-being. High performers came from families with the best socioeconomic and cultural status, but there were only slight differences in their learning practices compared with others. Furthermore, the key resources positively associated with all forms of high performers’ well-being were parental emotional support, students’ attitudes toward hard work and their strategies to master work.