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Person-Oriented Profiles Can Clarify Variable-Oriented Associations : The Example of Communication with Parents and Adolescents' Mental Health Problems

  • Stattin, Håkan
  • Eriksson, Charli
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2024
DOI: 10.3390/youth4010004
DiVA - Academic Archive On-line
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Background: Variable-oriented analyses of time trends in the ease of communicating with mothers and fathers in the Swedish HBSC (Health and Behavior in School-aged Children) dataset show that communication problems with fathers, but not with mothers, positively predict mental health problems among adolescents. This similarity across years is likely to lead to high structural stability in person-oriented analyses across survey years, providing opportunities to uncover typical communication patterns in a robust way. A person-oriented method, cluster analysis, was used in this study to clarify these variable-oriented findings on the prediction of mental health problems. Methods: The Swedish HBSC dataset of 15-year-olds for 2002, 2006, 2010, 2014, and 2018, with a total of 9255 participants, was used for variable- and person-oriented analyses. Results: Person-oriented analyses of ease of communication with the mother and ease of communication with the father show that poor communication with both parents is associated with the worst mental health problems. They also show that when there is poor communication with mothers, in most cases, adolescents also have poor communication with fathers. The variable-oriented analyses do not show that mental health problems are highest when adolescents find it difficult to communicate with both parents. Conclusions: Person-oriented analyses offer the possibility of drawing more specific conclusions about family conditions that affect adolescents’ mental health. More generally, person-oriented analyses are likely to clarify the results of variable-oriented analyses in many other areas also.

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