RESEARCHERS AT TWO Irish universities have recommended targeting depression awareness and intervention programmes at teenage boys on foot of results of a study.
The research used vignettes and questionnaires to measure how both sexes view depression or ADHD in their peers between the ages of 10 and 16.
The younger children did not hold very negative perceptions of others their age with these conditions, the study found. However, Dr Eilis Hennessy of UCD’s School of Pyschology said:
It’s possible that the children knew what is socially acceptable to say on the questionnaire, so we also used a reaction time test to see how quickly they associated positive and negative words with mental health problems.
This test also showed that teenage girls did not have negative attitudes towards their peers with depression but that some teen boys did. Dr Hennessy said:
If we were to think about intervention, the group that we need to target are adolescent boys and depression.
It wasn’t just teens though that were a cause for concern. The study, which was co-produced by Dr Caroline Heary at NUI Galway, found that all of those interviewed between the ages 10 to 16 were worried about stigma from adults. “A lot of them spoke about not telling anyone they had a diagnosis,” said Dr Hennessy.
The study was funded by the Health Research Board of Ireland.
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