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Eur J Pediatr. 2007 Jul;166(7):701-8. Epub 2006 Nov 21.

Self-perceived health among adolescents: the role of gender and psychosocial factors.

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Division of Behavioral Sciences, Department of Psychiatry, University of Szeged, Szentharomsag str. 5, 6722 Szeged, Hungary.


Since adolescents' psychosocial health problems may have major implications for adult morbidity and mortality, investigating their self-perceived health deserves priority. In the lack of limiting illness, psychosocial health variables, e.g., psychosomatic health complaints or health behaviors, play a decisive role in determining adolescents' self-perceived health. Using data on adolescents from Szeged, Hungary (n = 1,114), we examined the relationship between adolescents' self-perceived health and a set of psychosocial health status measurements. Findings show that psychosomatic and depressive symptoms contributed significantly to adolescents' poor/fair perceptions of health. Findings also support the relationship between health behaviors and adolescents' self-perceived health. Among boys, drug use and the lack of physical activity are significant predictors. Among girls, smoking may act in a similar way. Diet control is significant in both cases. Besides academic achievement, SES self-assessment and non-intact family status are strong contributes to health perception. Overall, findings show that psychosocial health variables are important influences on adolescents' self-perceived health.

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