Self-perceived health among adolescents: the role of gender and psychosocial factors

Eur J Pediatr. 2007 Jul;166(7):701-8. doi: 10.1007/s00431-006-0311-0. Epub 2006 Nov 21.


Since adolescents' psychosocial health problems may have major implications for adult morbidity and mortality, investigating their self-perceived health deserves priority. In the lack of limiting illness, psychosocial health variables, e.g., psychosomatic health complaints or health behaviors, play a decisive role in determining adolescents' self-perceived health. Using data on adolescents from Szeged, Hungary (n = 1,114), we examined the relationship between adolescents' self-perceived health and a set of psychosocial health status measurements. Findings show that psychosomatic and depressive symptoms contributed significantly to adolescents' poor/fair perceptions of health. Findings also support the relationship between health behaviors and adolescents' self-perceived health. Among boys, drug use and the lack of physical activity are significant predictors. Among girls, smoking may act in a similar way. Diet control is significant in both cases. Besides academic achievement, SES self-assessment and non-intact family status are strong contributes to health perception. Overall, findings show that psychosocial health variables are important influences on adolescents' self-perceived health.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent*
  • Depression / psychology
  • Diet
  • Educational Status
  • Family Relations
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Hungary
  • Male
  • Motor Activity
  • Physical Fitness
  • Psychophysiologic Disorders / psychology
  • Self-Assessment*
  • Sex Factors
  • Smoking / psychology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires