Purpose: The aim of this study was to describe age and gender differences in psychosocial aspects of health in adolescents. A further aim was to explore if self-rated behavior problems varied with the adolescents' general self-concept and sense of coherence.
Methods: Questionnaires on self-rated psychosocial aspects of health were answered by 282 (n = 282/390) randomly selected adolescents, aged 13-22 years (M 17.9/18.0). The instruments used were "I think I am (ITIA)," "Youth Self Report (YSR)," "Sense of coherence (SOC)," and "Family APGAR." Differences between males and females (cross-individual grouping) were analyzed using nonparametric tests. A cluster analysis was performed using a three-cluster solution to identify and describe profiles (person-centered grouping).
Results: Compared with males, adolescent females scored less favorably on self-esteem (ITIA) (p = .028), reported more behavior problems (YSR) (p = .000), and showed a lower sense of coherence (SOC) (p = .003). The differences were most evident in the age group 15-17 years. The three clusters significantly differed from each other regarding how high proportions of problems the adolescents of each profile reported.
Conclusions: Compared with male adolescents, adolescent females experienced a poorer psychosocial health in somatic, depressive, and internalizing areas. The result indicated that psychological factors had a major impact on the proportions of problems that the adolescents reported.