Background: Emotional health problems are widespread among adolescents. The Health Behavior in School aged Children (HBSC) survey from 2010 of 11-15-year-olds' health and well-being show that 21% of girls and 16% of boys experience at least one emotional problem every day. Adolescents´ mental health is an important public health issue and a goal in itself. Further, mental health and competencies in adolescence track into adulthood. Emotional health problems seem to be socially patterned as the prevalence of problems is approximately twice as high in lower compared to higher social classes but these inequalities are still vaguely documented among adolescents. Further, little research exist about the social patterning of social and personal competencies but some studies suggest that socioeconomic status is connected to the development of different aspects of competencies. Objectives: This study examines whether social inequalities in competencies exist among adolescents and whether these differences in competencies can be mediating factors in the association between social class and mental health. Competencies to overcome emotional health problems might be a premise for emotional health and social class differences in competencies might be a key determinant in explaining inequalities in emotional health problems. Methods: The HBSC Methodology Survey 2012 included 11-15-year-old school children in Slagelse and Halsnæs municipality, participation rate 77%, n=3975. The participants answered a new test-version of the internationally standardized HBSC questionnaire. The outcome measure emotional problems is defined as daily presence of at least one of four symptoms: feeling low; irritable or bad tempered; feeling nervous and having difficulties falling asleep. Items about children and adolescents´ Social competencies, Self-efficacy and Sense of coherence (SOC) are used as indicators of competencies. The statistical procedures will be multilevel multivariate regression analysis.
Social epidemiology, Emotional health, adolescents