Understanding Youth Knowledge, Behaviors and Conditions concerning Mental Health

A special issue of Behavioral Sciences (ISSN 2076-328X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2024) | Viewed by 26995

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Faculty of Education, Monash University, Clayton, VIC 3800, Australia
Interests: child and youth mental health, trauma informed practices and schools, interventions, program development, teacher training; child trauma; diversity and inclusion; enhancing health and wellbeing; transforming teaching and learning

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Guest Editor
Bordeaux Population Health, Bordeaux University, 33076 Bordeaux, France
Interests: youth mental health; mental health promotion and disease preventions intervention; mental health literacy; evaluation of mental health intervention; digital mental health programs

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Guest Editor
School of Social Work, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA
Interests: rural social work practice; families of people with psychiatric disabilities; outcome assessment; children and families; health and mental health; micro and macro practice; social work education

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue in Behavioral Sciences will bring together research and practice, offering an opportunity to explore challenging contemporary concepts in the field of child, adolescent and young adult (up to 25 years) mental health and recovery. The Issue will focus on essential elements in the field, reflecting on themes related to youth mental health literacy and knowledge, conditions related to child and youth mental health, and epidemiological studies on key determinants of youth mental health. Essentially, we are looking at a broader scope of factors (parental, family, school, etc.) that shape child and youth mental health. Therefore, while studies with a focus on the individual/biological/personal level are welcome, we also invite those that are external to the person but which contribute significantly to their mental health.

We also prioritise programmes and interventions targeting positive outcomes for children and youth dealing with mental health problems. Therefore, studies can also focus on planned approaches to child and youth mental health and recovery, particularly those that draw on strengths-based and evidence-based strategies. This Special Issue will accept articles focused on any aspects of child and youth psychological, social, and/or developmental issues. However, all articles will be required to report on data, recommendations/implications, and/or methods that clearly provide an understanding of the impacts on child and youth mental wellbeing. Theoretical, observational, conceptual, narrative, and protocol papers are welcome.

The articles may include, but are not limited to, determinants of mental illness/health in children and youths, children/young people’s understanding of mental health, the consequences of COVID-19, climate change, natural disasters, and environmental hazards for children’s, adolescents’ and young adults’ mental health; evaluations of socioeconomic, systems, and/or cultural challenges that may impede mental wellbeing in children and youth; and the delivery of initiatives focused on child or youth directly or the systems in which they work to improve mental health for children and youths.

We look forward to receiving your papers.

Dr. Christine Grove
Dr. Ilaria Montagni
Dr. Joanne Riebschleger
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Behavioral Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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19 pages, 334 KiB  
Article
Differences in Help-Seeking Behavior among University Students during the COVID-19 Pandemic Depending on Mental Health Status: Results from a Cross-Sectional Survey
by Lukas Guenthner, Sabrina Baldofski, Elisabeth Kohls, Jan Schuhr, Tanja Brock and Christine Rummel-Kluge
Behav. Sci. 2023, 13(11), 885; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs13110885 - 25 Oct 2023
Viewed by 1905
Abstract
Background: Current evidence suggests that a significant proportion of university students are affected by mental disorders and suicidal ideation. Despite this, a treatment gap exists. Therefore, the present study assessed students’ knowledge and past use of on- and off-campus mental health services and [...] Read more.
Background: Current evidence suggests that a significant proportion of university students are affected by mental disorders and suicidal ideation. Despite this, a treatment gap exists. Therefore, the present study assessed students’ knowledge and past use of on- and off-campus mental health services and help-seeking intentions. Furthermore, resilience was investigated as a potential barrier to help-seeking behavior. Methods: Data were collected between April and May 2022 from N = 5510 students from Saxony, Germany. To compare dependent variables, subgroups were computed according to students’ mental health status. Variables were assessed using standardized questionnaires. Chi-square tests were used for comparisons between groups. Multiple regression models were used to investigate the influence of resilience on help-seeking behavior. Results: Between 34 and 38% (depending on the subgroup) of participants indicated that they were not aware of their universities’ psychosocial counseling services. Furthermore, between 17 and 19% of participants indicated that they were not willing to seek help from professional mental health services. Finally, the previously found negative effect of resilience on help-seeking behavior was confirmed. Conclusion: The results showed a lack of awareness regarding universities’ mental health services and a treatment gap among university students. Universities and healthcare providers need to educate students about mental health services and how to access them. Further research is needed to elucidate the differential impact of resilience on mental health and help-seeking. Full article
12 pages, 407 KiB  
Article
Exploration of Psychiatry Residents’ Attitudes toward Patients with Substance Use Disorder, Bipolar Disorder and Schizophrenia in Saudi Arabia
by Abdullah M. Alarifi, Najim Z. Alshahrani, Nawaf H. Albali, Khalid M. Aljalajel, Nourh M. Alotaibi, Anan A. Fallatah, Majd Rachid Zeitounie, Khalid A. Alghamdi, Maan A. Alsaaid and Ahmed Alshehri
Behav. Sci. 2023, 13(8), 642; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs13080642 - 1 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1322
Abstract
Stigmatizing attitudes of psychiatry professionals toward patients with various mental disorders may negatively impact treatment-seeking behaviors. However, in Saudi Arabia, little is known about psychiatry residents’ attitudes toward individuals with a specific disease/disorder. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to assess psychiatry [...] Read more.
Stigmatizing attitudes of psychiatry professionals toward patients with various mental disorders may negatively impact treatment-seeking behaviors. However, in Saudi Arabia, little is known about psychiatry residents’ attitudes toward individuals with a specific disease/disorder. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to assess psychiatry residents’ attitudes toward patients with substance use disorder (SUD), bipolar disorder and schizophrenia in Saudi Arabia. Data for this cross-sectional study were collected from psychiatry residents (N = 79) in Saudi Arabia with a structured questionnaire containing sociodemographic and attitude-related variables. The 11-item Medical Condition Regard Scale (MCRS) for individuals with three conditions was used to assess participants’ attitudes. A linear regression model was fitted to investigate the association. Based on the MCRS (on a scale of 11 to 66), participants′ mean attitude scores were 41.59 (SD: 8.09), 54.53 (SD: 5.90) and 54.20 (SD: 6.60) for SUD, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, respectively. Adjusted regression analysis demonstrated that senior residents, an age ≥ 27 years and a high confidence level were significantly associated with psychiatry residents’ positive attitudes toward patients with the three conditions. Psychiatry residents’ attitude scores were relatively lower (i.e., negative attitudes) for patients with SUD than for those with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Future longitudinal studies are recommended to explore the factors behind psychiatry residents’ negative attitudes toward patients with addictive behaviors and mental illnesses. Full article
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15 pages, 272 KiB  
Article
A Study on South Korean College Students’ Perceptions of Gratitude
by Namki Lee and Yucheon Kim
Behav. Sci. 2023, 13(4), 281; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs13040281 - 23 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1576
Abstract
Humans feel happy when they experience positive emotions; gratitude is a significant inducer of positive emotions. This study investigates perceptions of gratitude among South Korean college students using the Q methodology, which enables the examination of individuals’ subjectivity. We collected 227 statements from [...] Read more.
Humans feel happy when they experience positive emotions; gratitude is a significant inducer of positive emotions. This study investigates perceptions of gratitude among South Korean college students using the Q methodology, which enables the examination of individuals’ subjectivity. We collected 227 statements from a Q population through literature reviews, paper reviews, interviews, and questionnaire surveys; from them statements, we selected 40 Q samples. The P samples included 46 college students at Dongguk University in Seoul, South Korea, and we performed data analysis with Principal Component Factor Analysis using the Quanl program. Using the results of this study, we classified gratitude into five types: Type 1 active gratitude through expression; Type 2 passive gratitude depending on conditions; Type 3 gratitude through relationships; Type 4 gratitude through internal satisfaction, and; Type 5 gratitude through materials. The results point to differences in experiences of gratitude that depend on conditions and environments, and by type. Researchers and administrators can use the results of this study to understand South Korean college students’ perspectives and perceptions when planning and implementing gratitude programs that prioritize their happiness. Full article
15 pages, 656 KiB  
Article
The Importance of the 5Cs of Positive Youth Development to Depressive Symptoms: A Cross-Sectional Study with University Students from Peru and Spain
by Denisse Manrique-Millones, Diego Gómez-Baya and Nora Wiium
Behav. Sci. 2023, 13(3), 280; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs13030280 - 22 Mar 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 7582
Abstract
Background: Prior research has documented the protective role of the 5Cs of Positive Youth Development (PYD) on adjustment problems, such as depressive symptoms. Nonetheless, more research is needed, especially in non-US contexts. The main objective of the present study was to assess associations [...] Read more.
Background: Prior research has documented the protective role of the 5Cs of Positive Youth Development (PYD) on adjustment problems, such as depressive symptoms. Nonetheless, more research is needed, especially in non-US contexts. The main objective of the present study was to assess associations between the 5Cs and depressive symptoms in Peru and Spain, considering gender differences across contexts. Methods: Cross-sectional data was collected from undergraduate students from Peru [n = 250] and Spain [n = 1044]. Results: The results revealed significant negative associations of Competence, Confidence, Character and Connection with depressive symptoms, while Caring was positively and significantly related to depressive symptoms in both samples. Regarding gender differences, female undergraduates in both samples reported high levels of Caring, while Competence was predominant among males compared to females in both countries. Likewise, higher scores in Competence and Confidence were registered among Peruvian male undergraduates compared to Spanish students, while Caring and Character were more prevalent in Spanish female undergraduates compared to Peruvian students. Conclusions: These findings confirm the importance of targeting the 5Cs of PYD alongside the role of gender and country context in intervention programs, put together to address the mental health of students in Peru and Spain. Full article
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11 pages, 863 KiB  
Article
Australian Youth Resilience and Help-Seeking during COVID-19: A Cross-Sectional Study
by Christine Grove, Alexandra Marinucci and Ilaria Montagni
Behav. Sci. 2023, 13(2), 121; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs13020121 - 1 Feb 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3636
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has seriously impacted youth mental health. Their resilience, defined as the ability to respond to adversity, has also been impaired. Help-seeking refers to the activity of addressing oneself to others when facing trouble. The objective of this study was to [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic has seriously impacted youth mental health. Their resilience, defined as the ability to respond to adversity, has also been impaired. Help-seeking refers to the activity of addressing oneself to others when facing trouble. The objective of this study was to understand the levels of youth resilience and help-seeking during COVID-19 in 2021. Data were collected online from 181 Australian adolescents aged 12–17 years. The General Help-Seeking Questionnaire, the Actual Help-Seeking Questionnaire, and the Resilience Scale were used. Mean and frequency analysis and independent samples t-tests were performed. The Pearson correlation coefficient was calculated. Resilience was in the low range (mean = 66.56, SD 15.74) and associated with no help-seeking. For a personal problem and suicidal ideation, participants were most likely to contact a mental health professional, with means of 4.97 (SD 1.75) and 4.88 (SD 1.97), respectively. The majority did not seek help (n = 47) for challenges with anxiety or depression. This study corroborates previous findings on limited help-seeking in youth because of self-reliance and low confidence in others. Resilience decreased during COVID-19 in parallel with help-seeking. Strategies aiming to increase resilience and help-seeking, such as school-based programs, are needed given their decrease in Australian youths due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Full article
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13 pages, 1437 KiB  
Article
Factors Associated with University Students’ Deterioration from Subthreshold Depression to Depression before and during the COVID-19 Pandemic
by Koki Takagaki and Satoshi Yokoyama
Behav. Sci. 2023, 13(1), 72; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs13010072 - 13 Jan 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2256
Abstract
COVID-19 has exposed university students to high-stress situations, and the percentage of individuals with depressive symptoms was high during the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, subthreshold depression carries a risk for the subsequent development of major depressive disorder (MDD). During the COVID-19 pandemic, we examined [...] Read more.
COVID-19 has exposed university students to high-stress situations, and the percentage of individuals with depressive symptoms was high during the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, subthreshold depression carries a risk for the subsequent development of major depressive disorder (MDD). During the COVID-19 pandemic, we examined whether differences exist between university students who deteriorated from subthreshold depression to MDD and those who remained stable or improved. Four hundred seventeen participants completed all the measures twice over a one-year interval. One hundred twenty-three participants met the criteria for subthreshold depression at Time 1. One year later, 42 participants no longer met the criteria for subthreshold depression, 68 participants maintained the criteria for subthreshold depression, and 13 participants met the criteria for MDD. We conducted two-way repeated measures ANOVA to examine the differences between those who deteriorated from subthreshold depression to MDD and those who did not. The study results suggest that avoidance behavior is associated with the development of MDD from subthreshold depression. Additionally, the study showed that experiencing isolation relates to MDD onset. Therefore, we should monitor avoidance behavior and isolation in pandemic conditions. Consequently, attention to avoidance behavior and isolation may be important; however, further research is required. Full article
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13 pages, 322 KiB  
Article
Validation of the Mental Health Literacy Scale in French University Students
by Ilaria Montagni and Juan Luis González Caballero
Behav. Sci. 2022, 12(8), 259; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs12080259 - 28 Jul 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 3546
Abstract
Background: Mental health literacy is a determinant of mental health, which can facilitate early detection of psychological problems and endorse timely access to care. Instruments to measure mental health literacy exist, but not in French. Assessment of mental health literacy in young adults [...] Read more.
Background: Mental health literacy is a determinant of mental health, which can facilitate early detection of psychological problems and endorse timely access to care. Instruments to measure mental health literacy exist, but not in French. Assessment of mental health literacy in young adults is essential to tailor appropriate educational interventions promoting psychological wellbeing and preventing mental health problems in this vulnerable population. The aim of this study was to validate the French version of the Mental Health Literacy Scale (MHLS-FR) in university students. Methods: A total of 482 students from the University of Bordeaux, France, completed the translated version of the scale. Collected data were used to validate the MHLS-FR through psychometric analyses: descriptive statistics, item distribution, test-retest reliability, exploratory structural equation model, confirmatory factor analysis, Cronbach’s alpha and McDonald’s omega coefficients, and hypothesis testing. Results: The final scale included 26 items covering 6 dimensions. Cronbach’s alpha and McDonald’s omega coefficients were 0.744 and 0.961, respectively. With test-retest, about 50% of items had intraclass correlation coefficients superior to 0.5. Conclusions: The MHLS-FR can be considered as a valid and reliable instrument for measuring mental health literacy in French students. Full article

Review

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32 pages, 5778 KiB  
Review
Promoting Physical and Mental Health among Children and Adolescents via Gamification—A Conceptual Systematic Review
by Evgenia Gkintoni, Fedra Vantaraki, Charitini Skoulidi, Panagiotis Anastassopoulos and Apostolos Vantarakis
Behav. Sci. 2024, 14(2), 102; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs14020102 - 29 Jan 2024
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3280
Abstract
The rapid growth in digital technology usage among children and adolescents has highlighted the need for novel approaches to promote their physical and mental health. This paper investigates the viability of gamification—the application of game mechanics to non-gaming contexts—as a potent instrument for [...] Read more.
The rapid growth in digital technology usage among children and adolescents has highlighted the need for novel approaches to promote their physical and mental health. This paper investigates the viability of gamification—the application of game mechanics to non-gaming contexts—as a potent instrument for health promotion and mental health support. This conceptual systematic review seeks to examine the various published articles promoting children and adolescents’ physical and mental health through gamified techniques. These interventions can provide an interactive and engaging platform for encouraging physical activity, promoting healthy nutrition, enhancing emotional regulation, and promoting mental health. The significance of this topic stems from the pervasive use of electronic games, beginning at a young age, which makes them popular educational tools. For the review to be systematic and reproducible, the PsycINFO, Scopus, PubMed, and Elsevier databases were searched and the PRISMA method was utilized for the analysis. After analyzing the research data, empirical studies assessing the use of gamification in promoting adolescents’ physical and mental health are discussed. In conclusion, gamification has demonstrated promise for promoting children’s and adolescents’ physical and mental health. It improves motivation, commitment, and adherence to healthy behaviors. However, additional research is required to evaluate gamification interventions’ long-term effectiveness and sustainability in promoting health behaviors among this population. Full article
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