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Increase of internalised mental health symptoms over the last 33 years among adolescents
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Clinical Sciences, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
2017 (English)In: European Journal of Public Health, ISSN 1101-1262, E-ISSN 1464-360X, Vol. 27, no suppl_3, p. 271-272Article in journal, Meeting abstract (Other academic) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: Mental health among young people is of increasing public health importance. Several studies comparing the 1990ies with today suggest an increase of internalised mental health problems among adolescent girls. The development among adolescent boys is less clear. The aim of this study was to analyse the development of mental health among adolescence from the early 1980ies until today with regard to internalised and externalised symptoms among both boys and girls.

Methods: Two cohorts were compared consisting of all pupils in the last year of compulsory school in Luleå (Sweden) in 1981 (n = 1083, response rate 99.7%) and in 2014 (n = 682, response rate 98.3%). The same questionnaire was used with validated questions about symptoms of mental health. Confirmatory factor analysis were performed in order to validate the proposed a priori factor structure of the mental health measures; anxiety symptoms, depression symptoms, functional somatic symptoms and externalised symptoms.

Results: Symptoms of anxiety, depression and functional somatic symptoms increased among both boys and girls from 1981 until 2014 (p < 0.001 for all symptoms and for both boys and girls). Externalised symptoms decreased, especially among boys (p < 0.001 for both boys and girls). These changes between the cohorts were confirmed using multivariate regression techniques (controlling for parental socioeconomic status and parental country of origin) for each measure of mental health. among boys and girls.

Conclusions: Symptoms of internalised mental health have increased among 16-year old boys and girls over the last 33 years while externalised symptoms have decreased, especially among boys. Public health actions need to be initiated in order to stop the increase and prevent internalised mental health problems among teenagers.

Key messages:

  • A longer period than 20 years is needed in order to detect an increase in internalised mental health symptoms among adolescent boys.
  • Adolescent girls have the highest level and the highest increase in these symptoms during a period of 33 years, while externalised mental health symptoms have decreased mostly among adolescent boys.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
OXFORD UNIV PRESS , 2017. Vol. 27, no suppl_3, p. 271-272
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-143079DOI: 10.1093/eurpub/ckx187.721ISI: 000414389803029OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-143079DiVA, id: diva2:1166528
Conference
10th European Public Health Conference Sustaining resilient and healthy communities Stockholm, Sweden 1–4 November 2017
Available from: 2017-12-15 Created: 2017-12-15 Last updated: 2018-06-09Bibliographically approved

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Hägglöf, Bruno

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