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Behav. Sci. 2016, 6(2), 9; doi:10.3390/bs6020009

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

1,2,†,* , 1,2,†
,
1,2,†
,
1,2,†
and
1,2,†
1
Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation (IHBI), School of Psychology and Counselling, Faculty of Health, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane 4059, Australia
2
Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre, Melbourne 3067, Australia
These authors contributed equally to this work.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Melanie Zimmer-Gembeck
Received: 15 December 2015 / Revised: 10 April 2016 / Accepted: 24 April 2016 / Published: 6 May 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Adolescent Romantic Relationships and Sex: Development and Behavior)
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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. View Full-Text
Keywords: adolescen; youth; romance; mental health; suicide; self-harm; self-injury; help-seeking; relationship; breakup adolescen; youth; romance; mental health; suicide; self-harm; self-injury; help-seeking; relationship; breakup
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Price, M.; Hides, L.; Cockshaw, W.; Staneva, A.A.; Stoyanov, S.R. Young Love: Romantic Concerns and Associated Mental Health Issues among Adolescent Help-Seekers. Behav. Sci. 2016, 6, 9.

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