Young love: Romantic concerns and associated mental health issues among adolescent help-seekers

Price, Megan, Hides, Leanne, Cockshaw, Wendell, Staneva, Aleksandra, & Stoyanov, Stoyan (2016) Young love: Romantic concerns and associated mental health issues among adolescent help-seekers. Behavioral Sciences, 6(2), p. 9.

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Abstract

Over 50% of young people have dated by age 15. While romantic relationship concerns are a major reason for adolescent help-seeking from counselling services, we have a limited understanding of what types of relationship issues are most strongly related to mental health issues and suicide risk. This paper used records of 4019 counselling sessions with adolescents (10–18 years) seeking help from a national youth counselling service for a romantic relationship concern to: (i) explore what types and stage (pre, during, post) of romantic concerns adolescents seek help for; (ii) how they are associated with mental health problems, self-harm and suicide risk; and (iii) whether these associations differ by age and gender. In line with developmental-contextual theory, results suggest that concerns about the initiation of relationships are common in early adolescence, while concerns about maintaining and repairing relationships increase with age. Relationship breakups were the most common concern for both male and female adolescents and for all age groups (early, mid, late adolescence). Data relating to a range of mental health issues were available for approximately half of the sample. Post-relationship concerns (including breakups) were also more likely than pre- or during-relationship concerns to be associated with concurrent mental health issues (36.8%), self-harm (22.6%) and suicide (9.9%). Results draw on a staged developmental theory of adolescent romantic relationships to provide a comprehensive assessment of relationship stressors, highlighting post-relationship as a particularly vulnerable time for all stages of adolescence. These findings contribute to the development of targeted intervention and support programs.

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ID Code: 95315
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: adolescent; youth;romance; mental health; suicide; self-harm; self-injury; help-seeking; relationship; breakup
DOI: 10.3390/bs6020009
ISSN: 2076-328X
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Psychology & Counselling
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2016 The Author(s)
Deposited On: 03 May 2016 22:50
Last Modified: 20 Aug 2016 04:26

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