The association between perceived social support in adolescence and positive mental health outcomes in early adulthood: A prospective cohort study

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Aims:
The link between perceived social support and mental health has received much attention from numerous scientific fields in recent years. Most studies, however, have examined associations only over relatively short follow-up periods using global measures of perceived social support and dichotomous negative indicators of mental health. We investigated the long-term association between perceived social support from friends, parents and teachers and multiple positive hedonic and eudemonic indicators of mental health, including hope, meaningfulness and subjective well-being.
Methods:
This study used questionnaire data from 2004, 2007 and 2010 from the West Jutland Birth Cohort study with linked register data. The study population consisted of 3681 adolescents born in 1989. Multiple linear and ordered logistic regression were used to analyse the association between perceived social support at age 14/15 years and mental health indicators at age 20/21 years while controlling for possible confounders, including the Big Five personality traits and baseline symptoms of depression.
Results:
The results show that perceived social support from friends in adolescence was positively associated with all indicators of mental health in early adulthood. Furthermore, perceived paternal social support was positively associated with meaningfulness and subjective well-being, while perceived social support from teachers was positively associated with meaningfulness.
Conclusions:
Overall, the results from this study indicate that perceived social support in adolescence, particularly support from friends, could promote positive mental health outcomes in early adulthood.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftScandinavian Journal of Public Health
ISSN1403-4948
DOI
StatusE-pub ahead of print - 1 mar. 2021

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