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Predicting Adolescent Mental Health Outcomes Across Cultures: A Machine Learning Approach
Duke University, Durham, NC (USA), University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL (USA).
University of Trento, Trento (ITA).
University of Trento, Trento (ITA).
Duke University, Durham, NC (USA).
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2023 (English)In: Journal of Youth and Adolescence, ISSN 0047-2891, E-ISSN 1573-6601, Vol. 52, no 8, p. 1595-1619Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Adolescent mental health problems are rising rapidly around the world. To combat this rise, clinicians and policymakers need to know which risk factors matter most in predicting poor adolescent mental health. Theory-driven research has identified numerous risk factors that predict adolescent mental health problems but has difficulty distilling and replicating these findings. Data-driven machine learning methods can distill risk factors and replicate findings but have difficulty interpreting findings because these methods are atheoretical. This study demonstrates how data- and theory-driven methods can be integrated to identify the most important preadolescent risk factors in predicting adolescent mental health. Machine learning models examined which of 79 variables assessed at age 10 were the most important predictors of adolescent mental health at ages 13 and 17. These models were examined in a sample of 1176 families with adolescents from nine nations. Machine learning models accurately classified 78% of adolescents who were above-median in age 13 internalizing behavior, 77.3% who were above-median in age 13 externalizing behavior, 73.2% who were above-median in age 17 externalizing behavior, and 60.6% who were above-median in age 17 internalizing behavior. Age 10 measures of youth externalizing and internalizing behavior were the most important predictors of age 13 and 17 externalizing/internalizing behavior, followed by family context variables, parenting behaviors, individual child characteristics, and finally neighborhood and cultural variables. The combination of theoretical and machine-learning models strengthens both approaches and accurately predicts which adolescents demonstrate above average mental health difficulties in approximately 7 of 10 adolescents 3-7 years after the data used in machine learning models were collected.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2023. Vol. 52, no 8, p. 1595-1619
Keywords [en]
Adolescence; Externalizing; Internalizing; Machine learning; Parenting; Prediction
National Category
Applied Psychology
Research subject
Child and Youth studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hv:diva-20003DOI: 10.1007/s10964-023-01767-wPubMedID: 37074622Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85153089852OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hv-20003DiVA, id: diva2:1762107
Note

This article is made available via the PMC Open Access Subset for unrestricted research re-use and secondary analysis in any form or by any means with acknowledgement of the original source. These permissions are granted for the duration of the World Health Organization (WHO) declaration of COVID-19 as a global pandemic.

Funding

This research has been funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development grants RO1-HD054805 and P2CHD065563 and Fogarty International Center grant RO3-TW008141. This research also was supported by National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Grant P30 DA023026, the Intramural Research Program of the NIH/NICHD, USA, and an International Research Fellowship at the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), London, UK, funded by the European Research Council (ERC) under the Horizon 2020 research and innovation program (grant agreement No. 695300-HKADeC-ERC-2015-AdG).

Available from: 2023-06-02 Created: 2023-06-02 Last updated: 2024-01-10

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Gurdal, SevtapSorbring, Emma

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