Queen’s researchers have found a correlation between the health of young Canadians and relationships with family, school, peers and community.
Their findings were based on data from a national research study, the 2014 Health Behaviour in School-aged Children Survey (HBSC), which gathered responses from 29,784 students from grades 6 through 10 from 377 schools across Canada.
The study found that social supports from parents, teachers and friends were critical for positive health outcomes, with family support being the most important source of support. Girls were found to be particularly vulnerable to mental health issues, especially girls in grades 9 to 10 — they reported more negative mental and emotional health outcomes than every other group.
The study also uncovered positive changes since the last report in 2010. Reports of bullying decreased by 50 per cent, although reports of students being “victimized” stayed at the same level.
It found that the use of cannabis (marijuana) has decreased among youth since 2002. Its use among Canadian youth is at its lowest level in 24 years, at 23 per cent for both boys and girls.
Queen’s researchers William Pickett and John Freeman were co-principal investigators for the study, which was coordinated by the Queen’s Social Program Evaluation Group (SPEG). Researchers from the University of British Columbia, McGill University and the University of New Brunswick also collaborated on the study.
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