More than 54% of young people between the ages of 14 and 24 present psychological symptoms, such as sadness, nervousness, sleep problems, irritation and fear, at least once a week, which has a negative influence on the overall perception of health status. The data are from a cross-sectional observational study conducted by CINTESIS – Center for Health Tecnology and Services Research.
The objective was to characterize the juvenile perceptions about their own health and the experiences of occupation of the spare time, outside the academic or work contexts. The study was published in the book “Quality of life and health in an interdisciplinary perspective”, based on a sample comprising 746 teenagers and young individuals and a robust design to allow the extrapolation of results.
According to this study, authored by Paula Rocha, Carlos Franclim and Paulo Santos, the psychological symptomatology was “significantly greater” in the female gender, which is also the one to perceive their health state as worse. In young female participants, nervousness is one of the most commonly reported symptoms, followed by irritation and sleep problems. “The difference in gender in the perception of health status and symptoms reinforces the need for interventions and different approaches between genders,” say the authors.
The study also points to the existence of a positive and significant correlation between satisfaction with spare time occupation and the favorable perception of their health status. The most satisfied among young individuals are those who enjoy their free time hanging out with family and friends. For the researchers, this association “justifies the systematic inclusion of the evaluation of the dimension ‘activities’ in the consultations of health follow-up of teenagers and young people.”
Music and the internet occupy the top places among regular activities to occupy spare time (at least once a week), while activities such as volunteering or associative participation are less common, showing that this is “youngsters are more individual in their way of spending spare time, which implies updating the understanding of the causes of this movement and its consequences.”
The authors emphasize the need to adjust existing responses, including the format of school and work time, as well as strategies for health promotion and healthy lifestyles to “contextual and generational specificities.”