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Self-reported objective and subjective indicators of socio-economic status and mental health between two adolescent age groups in Sweden
Svedberg, Petra, Nygren, Jens M., Hutton, Katrin, Nyholm, Maria
Artikel i tidskrift (Refereegranskat)
Background: Research has shown that socio-economic status (SES) contributes to the mental health of adolescents; however the causality of this effect is debated. SES among adolescents is methodologically difficult to assess and SES indicators differ between age groups. The aim of this study was to evaluate objective and subjective indicators of SES and their relation to mental health in two adolescent age groups.
Methods: This is a cross-sectional study based on data collected by self- report questionnaires from 11-13 years old n = 457 (younger age group) and 14-16 years old n = 462 (older age group) adolescents at schools in a rural town in south western Sweden. The Family Affluence Scale (FAS) (high, medium, low) and Perceived Wealth (PW) (high, medium, low) were used as measurement for objective and subjective socio-economic wealth. The domain psychological functioning health from the Minneapolis Manchester Quality of Life instrument (MMQL-PF) (continuous variable) was used to measure self-rated mental health.
Results: When measuring SES using the two different scales, the proportion of adolescents in the younger age group stating a low SES was 28.1% using FAS and 12.1% using PW. In the older age group the proportion was 21.4% in FAS and 15.5% in PW. There was a positive significant relation between PW and self-rated mental health in both age groups, by 0.112 (95% CI.0.024; 0.199) in the younger age group and by 0.140 (95% CI.0.051; 0.223) in the older age group. This relation was not seen regarding FAS.
Conclusion: In the search for SES’ relation to mental health, different aspects of adolescents’ socio-economic conditions should be considered. In this study we suggest that the subjective experiences of adolescents regarding the wealth of the family might be a stronger indicator of SES influencing mental health. This might be taken into consideration when planning for public health interventions and effective prevention programs suited for adolescents with lower SES.
In the search for SES’ relation to mental health, different aspects of adolescents’ socio-economic conditions should be considered.
© The Author 2014
Nyckelord: socio-economic status; mental health; adolescent