Young Love: Romantic Concerns and Associated Mental Health Issues among Adolescent Help-Seekers

Price, M, Hides, L, Cockshaw, W, Staneva, A and Stoyanov, S 2016, 'Young Love: Romantic Concerns and Associated Mental Health Issues among Adolescent Help-Seekers', Behavioural Scieces, vol. 6, no. 9, pp. 1-14.

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title Young Love: Romantic Concerns and Associated Mental Health Issues among Adolescent Help-Seekers
Author(s) Price, M
Hides, L
Cockshaw, W
Staneva, A
Stoyanov, S
Year 2016
Journal name Behavioural Scieces
Volume number 6
Issue number 9
Start page 1
End page 14
Total pages 14
Publisher Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute
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 (1018 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.
Subject Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology
Keyword(s) adolescent
mental health
DOI - identifier 10.3390/bs6020009
Copyright notice © 2016 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland
ISSN 2076-328X
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