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Trends in mental health problems among Swedish adolescents: Do school-related factors play a role?
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Public Health Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4233-0564
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Number of Authors: 52024 (English)In: PLOS ONE, E-ISSN 1932-6203, Vol. 19, no 3, article id e0300294Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Aim

The aim of this study is to investigate the extent to which school-related factors, such as school liking, participation in decision-making, school-related parental support, teachers’ support, and school physical environment, explain trends in mental health problems. The problems considered are psychosomatic symptoms (PSS), depressive symptoms (DS), suicidal ideations (SI), and suicide attempts (SA) among Swedish adolescents of varying socioeconomic status (SES) from 2004 to 2020.

Methods

We analyzed data collected through repeated cross-sectional surveys from 19,873 15-year-old students at schools in a county in Sweden. Boys and girls each constituted 50% of the participants. We fitted linear and logistic regression models to investigate associations between the school-related factors and trends in mental health problems.

Results

Increased school-related parental support and school liking were cross-sectionally associated with decreased PSS, DS and SI, with school liking also associated with decreased SA. Conducive school physical environment was also found to be cross-sectionally associated with lower PSS and DS scores. Over time, mental health problems have shown a general increase among adolescents in the low SES group and a decrease among those in the high SES group. While school-related factors explained the improvement in mental health in the high SES group, we found such association only between parental support trends in PSS and DS, along with participation and trends in SA over time among adolescents in the low SES group.

Conclusions

The results show that school-related factors play significant roles in influencing adolescent mental health. The influence, however, varied across SES gradients over time. This suggests that working against inequities in school-related factors would help address inequities in mental health.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2024. Vol. 19, no 3, article id e0300294
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology Psychiatry
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-228231DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0300294ISI: 001181701200063PubMedID: 38457463Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85187514377OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-228231DiVA, id: diva2:1850438
Available from: 2024-04-10 Created: 2024-04-10 Last updated: 2024-04-10Bibliographically approved

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Larm, PeterGiannotta, Fabrizia

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