Mental health service use among 18-year-old adolescent boys: a prospective 10-year follow-up study

J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2004 Oct;43(10):1250-8. doi: 10.1097/01.chi.0000134493.88549.e2.


Objective: To study prevalence and factors associated with mental health service use among 18-year-old adolescent boys.

Method: Predictors at age 8 and factors at age 18 associated with mental health service use during the preceding 12 months were studied in a general population sample of 2,316 Finnish boys born in 1981 attending military call-up (79% of the original sample).

Results: Within the preceding 12 months, 2.1% of the boys had used mental health services. At age 18, internalizing, anxious-depressive, and withdrawal symptoms; health problems; not living with parents; use of illicit drugs; high level of alcohol use; and regular smoking were independently associated with service use. At age 8, a high level of emotional and behavioral symptoms, need for referral, and low school performance according to teacher evaluations predicted service use 10 years later.

Conclusions: Only a minority of adolescents with severe problems had used mental health services. Because of the wide range of problems and comorbidity among service users, there is a need for integration of different services. Education services have a central role in the early detection of those who will later use mental health services.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Comorbidity
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Forecasting
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Mental Disorders / therapy*
  • Mental Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index