This study explores different perspectives on the risk factors of mental health problems among adolescents using a dual method approach. 12 mental health professionals were interviewed using a semi-structured interview guide. Nine Focus Group Discussions were conducted with parents, teachers and school going adolescents (aged 12-18). Data were transcribed and analysed using content analysis. Common codes and categories were extracted from both the methodologies thus, representing triangulation and trustworthiness of findings.
The results show seven major coding categories including self concept, coping mechanisms, parenting principles and family dynamics, teacher-student dynamics, peer interaction and media. Participants across the groups described the relevance of these categories in the mental health of adolescents. The findings were illustrated using Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory framework. The findings have important implications in terms of identification and management of mental health difficulties in adolescents especially from a preventive perspective.
The findings conclude that risk factors exist within the individual as well the contextual systems which make an adolescent vulnerable to a number of mental health problems. The findings can be included in the primary prevention framework by identifying and modifying these risk factors and therefore, delaying the progression of mental health difficulties into a major disorder.
Keywords: Risk factors, modifiable, adolescents, dual method, ecological systems theory, primary prevention