Mental Health Challenges Among First Nations Adolescents Living Off-Reserve in Ontario, Canada
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Limited data exist on the mental health challenges facing First Nations adolescents and the factors that modify these difficulties. The current study compared levels of common mental health challenges among 112 off-reserve First Nations and 3334 non-First Nations adolescents (12-17 years old) and examined the impact of maternal psychological distress on these mental health challenges. First Nations adolescents self-reported higher symptoms of conduct, oppositional-defiant, attention-deficit hyperactivity, major depressive, social phobia, generalized anxiety, and separation anxiety disorders and all associations remained statistically significant after adjusting for covariates. Moderation analyses found that increasing levels of maternal distress were associated more strongly with symptoms of oppositional defiant, attention-deficit hyperactivity, major depressive, and generalized anxiety disorders in First Nations adolescents. Future work aimed at improving the mental health of First Nations youth that focus on supporting these adolescents, and their mothers in particular, could result in substantial benefits.
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