Adolescent risky behavior and mental health
AbstractTo strengthen national efforts to address the burden of preventable deaths worldwide, the 66th World Health Assembly endorsed the WHO Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of NCDs 2013-2020 (resolution WHA66.10). Because most premature deaths are linked to common risk factors, namely tobacco use, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and harmful use of alcohol, the strong emphasis was made not just on further development of health services but on prevention and strengthening of public mental health and psychological wellbeing. Healthy development in childhood and adolescence is a key factor for good mental health in adulthood. However, as much as 88% of Ukrainian teenagers suffer from different kinds of psychological adversities. What is more, it is now a proven fact that most adolescent deaths are induced by preventable causes of which unhealthy and risky behavior patterns are most common. The article analyzes influence of different kinds of risky behavior on adolescent mental health. The effect of substance abuse, extreme health risk behavior, unsafe sexual life, interpersonal violence on adolescent emotional states (levels of depression and anxiety, loneliness, sadness, guilt and some others), self-perception and self-evaluation, experiencing emotional and social difficulties are examined in detail. Peculiarities of reacting to stress in adolescents who are involved in risky behavior are also viewed in the article.Interconnection of risky behavior and teenage self-harm and suicidality is rendered and the hypothesis is made that the severity of involvement into risky behavior correlates with the intensity of suicidal behavior in adolescents.Cluster analysis of different kinds of risky behavior is presented in a dendrogram by secondary method of communication with the use of Euclidean distance.We believe that risky behavior involvement in adolescence distorts psychological wellbeing and social adaptation through high levels of depression and anxiety, feeling that one’s life has no meaning, higher levels of subjective stress, domination of negative affect, problems with attention concentration and decision making. Moreover, it intensifies teenage suicidal activity and deteriorates their somatic health both during adolescence and in years to come.
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