Psychological Morbidity (Distress)
Several measures of psychological morbidity were employed in the studies of young people, the most widely used from age 15 upwards being the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ) which provides a measure of ‘psychological distress'.
Rates of psychological distress were generally high and, consistent with the literature, higher at all ages among females than males. These rates increased among females, but not males, between 1987 and 1999, possibly due to increased educational pressures combined with more traditional pressures to conform to a socially desirable female identity. Between 1999 and 2006, rates increased for both males and females.
West P, Sweeting H, Young R, Kelly S. The relative importance of family socioeconomic status and school-based peer hierarchies for morning cortisol in youth: an exploratory study. Social Science & Medicine 2010;70:1246-53pubmed open access
West P, Sweeting H, Young R. Transition matters: pupils' experiences of the primary-secondary school transition in the West of Scotland and consequences for well-being and attainment. Research Papers in Education 2010;25:21-50open access
Young R. Trauma, attempted suicide and morning cortisol in a community sample of adolescents. Journal of Traumatic Stress 2010;23:288–291open access
Glendinning A, West P. Young people's mental health in context: comparing life in the city and small communities in Siberia. Social Science & Medicine 2007;65:1180-1191pubmed
Sweeting H, Young R, West P, Der G. Peer victimization and depression in early-mid adolescence: A longitudinal study. British Journal of Educational Psychology 2006;76:577-594pubmed
Sweeting H, Wright C, Minnis H. Psychosocial correlates of obesity, 'slimming down' and 'becoming obese' in adolescence. Journal of Adolescent Health 2005;37:409.e9 - 409.e17pubmed
Young R, Sweeting H. Adolescent bullying, relationships, psychological well-being, and gender-atypical behavior: a gender diagnosticity approach. Sex Roles 2004;50:525-537open access
West P, Sweeting H. Fifteen, female and stressed: changing patterns of psychological distress over time. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 2003;44:399-411pubmed
West P, Sweeting H. Nae job, nae future: young people and health in a context of unemployment. Health & Social Care in the Community 1996;4:50-62
Ford G, Ecob R, Hunt K, Macintyre S, West P. Patterns of class inequality in health through the lifespan: class gradients at 15, 35 and 55 years in the West of Scotland. Social Science & Medicine 1994;39:1037-1050pubmed open access
- BMI Body Mass Index
General Health Questionnaire (GHQ)
A standard screening device for identifying minor (non-psychotic) psychiatric disorder, often referred to as ‘psychological distress'.
Refers to change in an individual's social class position (upward or downward) either between their own and their parents' social class (inter-generational mobility) or over the course of their working career (intra-generational mobility)