Personological predictors of psychological symptoms among secondary school adolescents




Oldaker, Syble

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Using Erikson's theoretical framework, this study examined psychological health and symptomatology among a population of secondary school adolescents. Descriptive and predictive relationships between personological variables (age, sex, level of achievement, and 10 personality dimensions) and 20 psychological symptoms were analyzed using nonparametric and multivariate statistical techniques.

A cross-sectional, analytical survey of 138 white, secondary school adolescents (35% male, 65% female), ages 14 to 18 years, was conducted. Participants completed a biographic questionnaire, the Comrey Personality Scales, and the Psychiatric Epidemiological Research Interview (PERI) Symptom Scales, modified for adolescents. Reliability and validity of the PERI for adolescents was determined with alpha coefficients of .60 or better in 19 of the 20 symptom scales.

Results indicated moderate to low levels of psychological symptoms among subjects. Symptoms experienced most were sadness, confused thinking, active expressions of hostility, rigidity, low enervation, distrust, and guilt. Kalmogorov-Smirnov probabilities for differences from normal distributions indicated that significantly fewer adolescents reported symptoms of dread, perceived poor health, drinking problems, reasons for drinking, insomnia, approval of rule breaking, anti-social history, hopelessness-helplessness, and psychophysiological symptoms. Four symptom factors were identified which described adolescents as "anxious fearful worriers," "hostile anti-social drinkers," "depressive," and "low energy fearfully confused."

Age, sex, and level of achievement were predictive of symptoms among adolescents. Greater psychophysiological symptoms were predicted among older adolescents. Greater drinking problems and insomnia were predicted among females. Low achievers were predicted to have greater anti-social history, distrust, perceived hostility from others, and less guilt.

Five canonical profiles provided predictive relationships between data sets of personological variables and symptom variables.

The research has implications for primary prevention of problems among relatively healthy adolescents and provides evidence for the association between psychosocial health and psychological symptoms among adolescents.



Mental health, Personality dimentsions, Psychological symptoms, Psychological disorders