Nearly one in four older teenage girls have self-harmed

ESRI study also finds one in 10 young people diagnosed with depression or anxiety

One in 10 17-18-year-olds reported that they had been diagnosed with depression, anxiety or both by a medical professional, the ESRI study found. Photograph posed by models. Photographer: Image Source

One in 10 17-18-year-olds reported that they had been diagnosed with depression, anxiety or both by a medical professional, the ESRI study found. Photograph posed by models. Photographer: Image Source

 

Almost a quarter of girls aged 17-18 have self-harmed, according to the latest report from the Economic and Social Research Institute’s Growing Up in Ireland study.

The research findings, to be published today in the latest report from the national longitudinal study of children, are the first results from interviews with more than 6,000 17-18-year-olds who have been participating in the study since 2007.

The study shows 17 per cent have “hurt [themselves] on purpose” with 11 per cent having done so in the past year. Self-harming was twice as common among girls (23 per cent) as boys (12 per cent).

One in 10 reported that they had been diagnosed with depression, anxiety or both by a medical professional. Girls were more likely than boys to report having received a diagnosis (13 per cent compared with 8 per cent).

The vast majority of young people felt they could rely on their parents and were not disappointed by them, although about 10 per cent said they often or always felt let down by a parent.

On education, 39 per cent of those from the most socially disadvantaged backgrounds disliked school, compared with only 19 per cent of those from the most socially advantaged group.

Part-time jobs

A third who were still in school had part-time jobs. On average, those with a part-time job spent nine hours a week working during term time, with an average income of €72 a week.

Some 84 per cent of participants were still in school, while 10 per cent were in further or higher education. Just 2 per cent were working, while another 2 per cent were training and a further 2 per cent not in education, work or training.

Being overweight or obese “continues to be a problem”, the report notes. In line with earlier rounds of the study, 20 per cent were overweight and 8 per cent were obese. Girls were more likely to be overweight or obese than boys at 31 per cent compared with 26 per cent.

There was also a “strong relationship” between weight status and the social status of the young person’s family. For example, 4 per cent of those whose mother had a degree were obese, compared with 14 per cent of those whose mother had left school at Junior Certificate or earlier.

There is also evidence to indicate that once weight problems develop they persist in adolescence. Almost two-thirds of those who were obese at 13 years old were still classified as being obese four years later, although 26 per cent were classified as overweight and 9 per cent had become non-overweight.

On risky behaviour, 56 per cent who reported having had sexual intercourse also reported that they always used a condom, although more than one in 10 said they never used one.

Furthermore, 79 per cent who had had sexual intercourse said that they or their partner always used some form of contraception, although 6 per cent said that they never/hardly ever used any form of contraception.

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone said the findings “raise some areas of concern”.

“Children from families who are better off educationally or financially continue tend to fare better than those who are less well off across a range of outcomes,” she said.