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|Help-seeking behaviour for emotional or behavioural problems among Australian adolescents: the role of socio-demographic characteristics and mental health problems.
|Ettridge, Kerry A.
|School of Paediatrics and Reproductive Health
|This thesis describes the relationship between the socio-demographic characteristics and level of mental health problems experienced by young adolescents and three different stages of help-seeking through which adolescents may progress when seeking professional help for self-perceived emotional or behavioural problems: (i) Problem recognition; (ii) Perception of a need for professional help for problems; (iii) Having received the help they needed for these problems. The thesis provides new information about help-seeking by separately examining the relationship between the key predictor variables and each of these different stages of help-seeking. Participants were 5,634 adolescents recruited for the beyondblue Schools Research Initiative. Adolescents completed measures of help-seeking behaviour, several measures of mental health problems (emotional and behavioural difficulties, depression and anxiety) and several measures of psychosocial functioning (interpersonal skills, constructive problem solving and perceived levels of social support). Forty percent of all adolescents perceived that they had experienced emotional or behavioural problems in the previous six months and 18% perceived they had more of these problems than their peers. Eight percent of all adolescents perceived a need for professional help with their problems. Only 3% of all adolescents reported receiving the help they needed for their problems, despite perceiving a need for professional help. Adolescents with higher levels of mental health problems were more likely to perceive they had emotional or behavioural problems, more problems than their peers and a need for professional help with these problems beyond that explained by their levels of psychosocial functioning. Perceiving emotional or behavioural problems was more common among females compared to males, adolescents from a non-English speaking background compared to those from an English speaking background, and among adolescents from families where parents did not live together compared to those from families with parents living together. Adolescents from families with separated or divorced parents were more likely to perceive they had more problems than their peers and a need for professional help with their problems compared to those from families with parents living together. These associations were maintained after adjusting for adolescents' levels of mental health problems. Socio-demographic characteristics and level of mental health problems explained little variability in the extent to which adolescents reported that they received the help they needed. However, results of subsidiary analyses revealed that adolescents with higher levels of constructive problem solving skills and perceived levels of family support were more likely to report they had received help. These results highlight a need for intervention programs aimed at increasing adolescents' ability to recognise when they have emotional or behavioural problems and the point at which these problems require professional help, for example, by increasing levels of emotional competence and mental health literacy. These programs should also equip adolescents with resources to assist them in seeking professional help (e.g. problem solving skills and interpersonal skills) for their emotional or behavioural problems.
|Sawyer, Michael Gifford
Baghurst, Peter Adrian
|Thesis (Ph.D.) -- University of Adelaide, School of Paediatrics and Reproductive Health, 2010
|help-seeking; adolescent mental health; problem recognition
|Copyright material removed from digital thesis. See print copy in University of Adelaide Library for full text.
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