Article révisé par les pairs
Résumé : BACKGROUND:Despite being a well-documented phenomenon, gender differences in psychological health complaints in adolescence are poorly understood. The purpose of this study was to test factors related to well-being as explanatory factors of gender differences in psychological complaints (feeling low, irritability or bad temper, nervousness, and sleeping difficulties) in adolescence.METHODS:This study was based on the 9(th) Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study, conducted in 2010 in the Wallonia-Brussels Federation, Belgium, on 9-24 year olds. Using logistic regression analyses, we studied gender differences in psychological complaints through well-being factors (life satisfaction, self-confidence, helplessness, and body image), across age categories, and examined the variation of female excess after taking into account each factor.RESULTS:The four well-being factors together explained more than half of the female excess in feeling low. However, there were still significant gender differences in feeling low for children over 13. Among 13 to 15-year-olds, there were no gender differences in irritability after adjustment. An important decrease in gender differences in nervousness was observed in the multivariate analyses, although there was still significant female excess in nervousness increasing from 13 years old. After full adjustment, only gender differences in sleeping difficulties among 13-15-year-olds remained significant. For all psychological complaints studied, self-confidence caused the most important decrease in gender difference.CONCLUSIONS:This study showed that factors related to well-being could mediate the association between gender and psychological complaints, and pointed to the importance of taking into account well-being factors in the analyses of the aetiology of gender differences in psychological complaints. However, our results suggested that future research should explore additional explanations for gender differences in psychological complaints.