Exposure to physical and sexual violence, mental health and help-seeking behaviors among Norwegian youth: A cross-sectional study using data from Ungvold, 2015.
This thesis is written with consideration of adolescents’ mental health by looking at the connections with help-seeking and two types of violence, physical and sexual. The purpose was to investigate the association between violence and mental health as well as the association between help-seeking and mental health. It was also my goal to investigate the prevalence of help-seeking behaviors among adolescent victims of violence, the prevalence of physical and sexual violence as well as gender difference in all the aforementioned variables. The associations between the various variables above were studied using quantitative data from the Ungvold data survey in 2015 undertaken by the Norwegian Institute for Research on Childhood, welfare, and Aging (NOVA). The study had 5350 respondents from final year high school students in Norway. The results of the study show that adolescents with experience of physical and sexual violence reported lower levels of mental health. The results also show that victims of both violence who sought help reported more mental health problems than their counterparts who did not seek help. The results further indicated that the prevalence of both physical and sexual violence and help-seeking behaviors among Norwegian adolescents was low. Furthermore, the results indicated that females reported higher levels of violence victimization, help-seeking behavior, and mental health problems than males. Lastly, the results show that adolescents mental health problem is highly associated with physical violence than sexual violence and that sexual violence also elicited more help-seeking behaviors than physical violence. These results were discussed within the frameworks of social risk management proposed by Holzmann and Jørgensen (2001). This study’s results contribute to increasing knowledge about some of the factors that can be considered as health promotion when dealing with adolescents’ mental health. This is important for social work when considering measures to promote adolescent’s mental health.