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Psychosocial vulnerability underlying four common unhealthy behaviours in 15–16-year-old Swedish adolescents: a cross-sectional study
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Social Medicine.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Caring Sciences.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Caring Sciences.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Social Medicine.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3734-6756
2017 (English)In: BMC Psychology, E-ISSN 2050-7283, Vol. 5, article id 39Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

BACKGROUND: Factors that influence unhealthy behaviours in adolescents may have different impacts in different sociocultural settings. There is lack of research on the association between psychosocial vulnerability and unhealthy behaviours in adolescents, particularly outside the United States. The aim was to investigate both direct and indirect relationships between psychosocial conditions (subjective well-being, social relationships and self-esteem) and four health-related behaviours (smoking, alcohol consumption, meal frequency and physical activity) in Swedish adolescents aged 15-16 years. Socio-demographic variables (socio-economic status, gender and age) were also investigated.

METHODS: To study these associations, a hypothesised model was tested using structural equation modelling. In the hypothesised model, interrelated psychosocial conditions (low well-being, poor social relationships and low self-esteem) and socio-demographic factors (low self-perceived socio-economic status, being female and higher age) together represented a vulnerability underlying smoking, alcohol consumption, irregular meal frequency and low level of physical activity. In this cross-sectional study, self-report questionnaires were used to collect data from 492 adolescents.

RESULTS: Hypothesised pathways between psychosocial conditions, socio-demographic factors and the four unhealthy behaviours were confirmed. Low well-being was strongly associated with unhealthy behaviours, and poor social relationships showed a strong indirect association with the unhealthy behaviours. Low self-esteem, low self-perceived socio-economic status and female gender were also vulnerability factors for the unhealthy behaviours.

CONCLUSIONS: Vulnerability for four common unhealthy behaviours was found in Swedish adolescents. This study presents the interrelationships of psychosocial and socio-demographic factors and how they were related with unhealthy behaviours. The results bring new insight into how psychosocial factors are related to unhealthy behaviours in adolescents living in northern Europe.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 5, article id 39
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-336735DOI: 10.1186/s40359-017-0209-9PubMedID: 29246175OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-336735DiVA, id: diva2:1166797
Available from: 2017-12-15 Created: 2017-12-15 Last updated: 2018-04-08Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Psychosocial Vulnerability Underlying Unhealthy Behaviours in Swedish Adolescents
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Psychosocial Vulnerability Underlying Unhealthy Behaviours in Swedish Adolescents
2018 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The overall aim was to examine the relationship between Swedish school adolescents´ health-related behaviours and psychosocial and socio-demographic factors, with the purpose of identifying vulnerability factors for unhealthy behaviours and exploring adolescents’ own experiences and thoughts about this.

Three studies were quantitative cross-sectional studies and used data from two different questionnaires. The fourth study was a qualitative study based on focus group interviews. The sample in study I consisted of 13–18-year-old adolescents (n= 10,590) and 15–16-year-old adolescents in studies II (n=492), III (n=492) and IV (n=36). The quantitative data were analysed using a number of different statistical methods. Foremost, structural equation modelling was used in studies I and II and Poisson regression analysis in study III. Study IV used qualitative content analysis by Graneheim and Lundman.

The results indicated that nearly 60 per cent of 15–16-year-old adolescents have at least two unhealthy behaviours. Interrelated psychosocial and socio-demographic factors constituted vulnerability for unhealthy behaviours in general in adolescents. Good psychosocial relationships were strongly related with high well-being, whereas poor social relationships and low well-being were associated with unhealthy behaviours in general. Low socio-economic group was associated with unhealthy behaviours in general but the strength of this association varied between the adolescent age groups. Encouragement from parents to adopt healthy behaviours was associated with less unhealthy behaviours. Having adolescents who cared about what their parents said regarding health-related behaviours was also associated with a lower number of unhealthy behaviours. The school and family were important social environments for adolescents´ health-related behaviours. Similarly, friends and social media were important social contexts. Fellowship, and close social relationships, in particular, was important to healthy behaviours. Fellowship with others was also stated to influence high well-being. The experience of feeling pressure was stated to be associated with low well-being and unhealthy behaviours in adolescents.

The thesis brings new knowledge to the field of psycho-social and socio-demographic factors associated with unhealthy behaviours in Swedish adolescents. Findings may be useful in supporting adolescents to reach positive health-related behaviours.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2018. p. 67
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Medicine, ISSN 1651-6206 ; 1460
Keyword
Adolescents, Health-related behaviours, Social environments, Social relationships, Socio-economic status, Unhealthy behaviours, Vulnerability, Well-being
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Research subject
Social Medicine
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-347828 (URN)978-91-513-0322-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2018-05-28, Polhemssalen, Ångströmlaboratoriet, Lägerhyddsvägen 1, Uppsala, 13:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2018-05-04 Created: 2018-04-08 Last updated: 2018-05-04

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