Gender differences in social environmental factors of psychological distress among Indonesian adolescents: Findings from the 2015 Global School-based Student Health Survey
Journal of Biosocial Science
Background: This study aimed to investigate gender differences in social environmental factors of psychological distress among Indonesian adolescents. Methods: This was a cross-sectional study using the data from the 2015 Indonesia Global School-based Student Health Survey. Binary logistic regression was used to assess the influences of main independent variables - social environmental factors (i.e., peer support, having close friends, bullying victimisation, physical fight, physical attack, parental supervision, connectedness, bonding), demographic characteristics, and health-related behaviours on the measures of psychological distress (loneliness, anxiety-induced sleep disturbance, and a combination of both measures as psychological distress). Results: The prevalence of psychological distress measured as loneliness, anxiety-induced sleep disturbance, and combined psychological distress was 6.12%, 4.52%, and 8.04%, respectively. Findings from multivariate analyses indicated that bullying victimisation, physical attack, experience of hunger (a proxy of socioeconomic status), and sedentary behaviour were associated with all measures of psychological distress. Meanwhile, age, gender, drug use, parental connectedness and bonding, and having no close friends were correlates of one or two measures of psychological distress. Based on gender-stratified analyses, experience of hunger, sedentary behaviour, bullying victimisation, and having no close friends were consistently associated with measures of psychological distress among both girls and boys. In addition, the influence of some social environmental factors, such as parental connectedness, peer support, and physical attack, were more salient among girls. Conclusions: The findings suggest that social environmental factors, demographic characteristics, and health-related behaviours were associated with psychological distress, and the associations appeared to differ by gender. Interventions that include improving positive social environmental factors (e.g., reducing interpersonal violence, encouraging positive relationships with parents and peers) and promoting healthy behaviours (e.g., less sedentary behaviour, preventing substance use) might help reduce the risk of psychological distress among Indonesian adolescents.
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