Mental Health

Where are teenagers happiest?

Graduating students enter the Paladin stadium before U.S. President George W. Bush watches them during the commencement ceremony at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina May 31, 2008.  REUTERS/Larry Downing   (UNITED STATES) - RTX6DPA

Graduating students enter the Paladin stadium. Image: REUTERS/Larry Downing

Aamna Mohdin
Reporter, Quartz
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The World Health Organization got thousands of teenagers around the world to open up about their feelings.

Almost 220,000 young people from 42 countries took part in the study(pdf). While the vast majority of teenagers said they were satisfied with their life, there were a few countries that were far less happy.

Fifteen-year-olds from Poland were among the least satisfied with their lives on average compared with their peers across the globe, whilst teenagers from Moldova and Armenia reported some of the highest rates of satisfaction. The report notes that boys generally reported higher life satisfaction across all age groups and countries. Unsurprisingly, the teenagers from the most affluent countries were the ones who reported higher life satisfaction.

Source: World Health Organization, Growing up unequal: gender and socioeconomic differences in young people’s health and well-being

The WHO asked teenagers how pressured they felt by the schoolwork they have to do. The responses ranged significantly between different countries; 75% of 15-year-olds from Malta felt pressured from schoolwork, while only 18.5% of Ukrainian teens felt the same way.

When asked whether they liked school a lot, only 5% of French-speaking Belgian 15-year-olds said they did, compared with 58% of 15-year-olds from Armenia. The WHO reports that girls were more likely to report liking school, except in England and Sweden where more boys reported liking school.

The report also delved into how comfortable teenagers were talking to their mothers. The WHO notes in the study that good communication “can prevent young people from participating in health risk behavior.” Teens from Macedonia topped the list, with 88.5% reporting find it easy to talk to their mothers, while 15-year-olds from France ranked the worst as only 63% find it easy to talk to their mothers. The average of all countries surveyed was 79%.

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