Health> Vol.5 No.7, July 2013

Internalized symptoms in adolescence as predictors of mental health in adulthood in the Northern Swedish cohort

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ABSTRACT

Although mental health symptoms in children and adolescents are shown to predict young adult mental health outcomes, long-term prospective studies of childhood cohorts are few. The aim of the present study was to analyze the prospective importance of internalized mental health symptoms in adolescence for internalized symptoms in adulthood. Methods: A community-based prospective longitudinal cohort provided information by questionnaire about psychological status at age 16 and 43 (n=1010, representing 94.3% of those still alive). Socio-demographic variables which were indicative of possible childhood adversity (parental class, absence, illness, unemployment, relationship, crowding, number of moves) were treated as confounders and controlled for in ordinal regression. Results: For both women and men, internalizing mental health symptoms reported at 16 significantly predicted the same outcome at 43 years, after controlling for previous adverse environmental conditions (OR =1.2 for women, 1.3 for men). Conclusion: In this representative cohort studied over 27 years with excellent retention rates, the occurrence of self-reported worry, panic and sadness in mid-adolescence significantly increased the likelihood of similar states in middle adulthood.

Cite this paper

Winefield, H. , Hammarström, A. , Nygren, K. and Hägglöf, B. (2013) Internalized symptoms in adolescence as predictors of mental health in adulthood in the Northern Swedish cohort. Health, 5, 1164-1171. doi: 10.4236/health.2013.57157.

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