01 02 03 Institute for Effective Education, University of York: Trends in adolescent mental health 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

Trends in adolescent mental health

A paper in the Journal of Adolescent Health investigated changes in mental health problems in adolescents by comparing two cross-sectional studies conducted five years apart. Many studies have shown the impact of mental health in adolescents on adult mental health and associated issues such as physical health, educational attainment, and working satisfaction.

Researchers analysed Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire data from 3,366 English 11- to 13-year-olds from matched cohorts in 2009 and 2014. The analysis revealed that overall levels of mental health difficulties were similar in the two years.

Specific areas that showed change included a 7% increase in emotional problems reported by girls and a small reduction in total difficulties reported by boys. The authors confirmed that, although small, the increase in emotional problems among adolescent girls was statistically significant and was in line with other studies. The small reduction in total difficulties reported by boys was not statistically significant, but the authors stated that similar small decreases were reported elsewhere and called for further research.

Source: Mental health difficulties in early adolescence: a comparison of two cross-sectional studies in England from 2009 to 2014 (2015), Journal of Adolescent Health

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