National-Level Schoolwork Pressure, Family Structure, Internet Use, and Obesity as Drivers of Time Trends in Adolescent Psychological Complaints Between 2002 and 2018

Type Article

Journal Article


Boer M, Cosma A, Twenge JM, Inchley J, Jeriček Klanšček H, Stevens GWJM.

Year of publication



J Youth Adolesc







Little is known about societal processes that contribute to changes in adolescent mental health problems. This study aims to fill this gap using data from the Health Behavior in School-aged Children study between 2002 and 2018 (ncountries = 43, nindividuals = 680,269, Mage = 14.52 (SD = 1.06), 51.04% female), supplemented with other international data. National-level psychological complaints increased more strongly among girls than boys. National-level schoolwork pressure, single-parent households, time spent on internet, and obesity were generally rising. In both boys' and girls' samples, increases in national-level schoolwork pressure, obesity, and time spent on internet use were independently associated with increases national-level psychological complaints. However, national-level obesity and psychological complaints were more strongly related among girls than boys. Results highlight the potential impact of societal-level processes on adolescent mental health problems.