Home » News » Parenting » Little-Known Factors May Impact Teen Mental Illness

Little-Known Factors May Impact Teen Mental Illness

Little-Known Factors May Impact Teen Mental Illness A new European study finds that adolescents with high media use, reduced sleep, and low physical activity make up an “invisible-risk” group with a high prevalence of psychiatric symptoms.

In the study, researchers queried 12,000 adolescents (14-16 years old) from 11 European countries on a variety of health risk behaviors and psychiatric symptoms.

The results of the study are published in the journal World Psychiatry.

Statistical analyses of the results identified three risk groups among the adolescents. Individuals who scored high on all examined risk behaviors clustered in the “high-risk” group (13 percent of the adolescents).

The “low-risk” group (58 percent) consisted of responders who had no or very low frequency of risk behaviors.

However, in addition to these two expected groups the third group labeled the invisible-risk group was identified.

These behaviors are generally not associated with mental health problems by observers such as teachers and parents. But adolescents in the invisible-risk group had similar prevalence of suicidal thoughts, anxiety, sub-threshold depression, and depression as the ‘high’ risk group.

“As many as nearly 30 percent of the adolescents clustered in the invisible-risk group had a high level of psychopathological symptoms,” said Vladimir Carli, M.D., Ph.D., first author of the study. “While the high-risk group is easily identified by behavior such as alcohol and drug use, parents and teachers are probably not aware that adolescents in the ‘invisible’ risk group are at risk.”

The study is the first to estimate the overall prevalence of a wider range of risk behaviors and lifestyles, and their association with symptoms of mental illness among European adolescents.

The results indicate that both risk behaviors and psychopathology are relatively common in this population.

It also shows that all risk behaviors and symptoms increase with age, which is in concordance with earlier studies. Most risk behaviors were more common among boys.

Emotional psychiatric symptoms such as depression, anxiety, and thoughts of suicide were more common among girls.

Source: Karolinska Institutet

Little-Known Factors May Impact Teen Mental Illness

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2018). Little-Known Factors May Impact Teen Mental Illness. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 22, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.