Risk and protective factors associated with internalizing and externalizing mental health problems among 13-15-year-old youth
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Instytut Psychiatrii i Neurologii
Submission date: 2021-05-19
Acceptance date: 2021-06-28
Online publication date: 2022-10-31
Publication date: 2022-10-31
Corresponding author
Krzysztof Jan Bobrowski   

Instytut Psychiatrii i Neurologii
Psychiatr Pol 2022;56(5):1033-1048
The main aim of the research was to identify factors associated with the occurrence of mental health problems in adolescents.

The study group consisted of elementary and junior high school students from Ilawa aged 13-15 years (N=574). The self-administered, anonymous questionnaire had been completed during school lessons. Two groups of mental health problems were included in the study: internalizing (depressive symptoms and emotional problems) and externalizing (use of psychoactive substances, aggressive behavior, delinquency), as well as a number of psychosocial factors (parental support and control, school bonding, peer influence, victimization, leisure activities). Hierarchical logistic regression models with Wald statistics were used to identify risk and protective factors.

Parental support and control appeared to be universal protective factors that reduce the risk of both internalizing and externalizing problems. On the other hand, being a victim of peer violence and spending a lot of time on e-contacts appeared to be risk factors for both groups of adolescent mental health problems. In addition, sex, negative peer influences, school bonding, and use of computer / video games were important factors in the regression models.

Prevention of mental health problems should be directed to education of parents in the skills of support and monitoring adolescents, strengthening the bonding to school and resilience to the negative influences of peer company.

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