Association of Child and Adolescent Mental Health With Adolescent Health Behaviors in the UK Millennium Cohort.
JAMA network open 2020 ; 3: e2011381.
PubMed ID : 32777059
PMCID : PMC7417966
There is potential for mental health status to act as a determinant of an individual's ability to engage in healthful lifestyle behaviors.
To investigate the associations of parent-reported mental health problems during childhood and self-reported mental health problems in adolescence with health behaviors in adolescence.
This cohort study used data from wave 4 (collected in 2008) and wave 6 (collected in 2015) of the Millennium Cohort Study, a UK population-representative longitudinal study of young people born during 2000 to 2001. Wave 4 included data on parent-reported mental health issues for children at age 7 years. Wave 6 included data on self-reported mental health problems as well as health behaviors for the same children at age 14 years. Data were analyzed July 5, 2020.
Mental health problems at age 7 years were parent-reported using Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire. Mental health problems at age 14 years were self-reported using the Short Mood and Feelings Questionnaire.
Health behaviors at age 14 years were the main outcome of interest. Sleep duration; fruit, vegetable, and soft drink consumption; and social media use were self-reported using recall on a typical day. Regression models were calculated for each lifestyle variable, with mental health change from ages 7 to 14 years as the exposure variable. Data were weighted to account for the potential clustering of region of sampling and adjusted for nonresponse.
A total of 9369 participants were included in waves 4 and 6 of the Millennium Cohort Study, including 4665 (48.1%) girls and 6014 participants (81.9%) who were born in England. Adolescents who self-reported mental health problems at age 14 years only were less likely to have at least 9 hours of sleep (odds ratio [OR], 0.39; 95% CI, 0.34-0.45) and to consume fruit (OR, 0.55; 95% CI, 0.46-0.65) and vegetables (OR, 0.66; 95% CI, 0.52-0.83) reported greater use of social media (b = 0.62; 95% CI, 0.49-0.75) compared with individuals who did not have mental health problems at both time points. Similarly, those with mental health problems at both time points were less likely to achieve 9 hours sleep (OR, 0.68; 95% CI, 0.51-0.90), consume fruit (OR, 0.39; 95% CI, 0.26-0.58) and vegetables (OR, 0.57; 95% CI, 0.35-0.91), and reported greater social media use (b = 0.63; 95% CI, 0.34-0.91).
These findings suggest that the presence of depressive symptoms at ages 7 and 14 years and at age 14 years only were associated with some health behaviors in adolescence. These findings are particularly important given that independent health behaviors can deteriorate and become habitual during adolescence, and adolescence is a known time for the first emergence of mental health problems that continue into adulthood.