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Positive factors associated with promoting health in low‐risk and high‐risk populations of 15‐ and 16‐year‐old pupils in Oslo, Norway

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Aim: To explore possible risk‐reducing factors associated with the incidence of common illnesses and use of healthcare services among adolescents. Methods: Cross‐sectional questionnaire study conducted in all Oslo schools among all 15‐ and 16‐y‐olds in 2000 and 2001. The adolescent population was divided into a low‐risk (LR) and a high‐risk (HR) group, and into quartiles, based on a sum score of different negative life experiences. The groups were compared with respect to potential risk‐reducing factors. Results: 88% of the 8316 pupils filled in the questionnaires. The difference between the LR and HR groups was largest for the possible risk‐reducing factor “my family values my opinion” (LR group = 92%; HR group = 82%), and I manage to solve serious problems myself (LR = 91%; HR = 86%). The family valuing the adolescents' opinions was the risk‐reducing factor most often associated with lower incidences of illness and healthcare utilization. Among the adolescents at highest risk, less depression was strongly related to positive relationships with friends, boys: odds ratio = 0.1 (CI 95%: 0.0–0.7); and girls: 0.2 (0.1–0.5). Adolescents reporting that they managed their own problems had about half the risk of depression.

: Good relations with family and friends, and a feeling of managing one's own life, are significantly related to lower rates of illness, in particular depression, and less healthcare‐seeking behaviour. The risk‐reducing effects increase with increasing risk. Healthcare workers therefore need to pay more attention to HR patients.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of General Practice and Community Medicine, Section for General Practice, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway 2: Department of Paediatric Research, Rikshospitalet, Oslo, Norway

Publication date: March 1, 2005

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