Lasting Mental Health May Not Be Typical
A new study suggests that only a small percentage of people maintains good mental health from childhood to middle age—most experience at least one bout of depression, anxiety, substance abuse, or another mental health problem during this time. The study, which was published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, showed that just 17 percent of people experience no mental health issues between the ages of 11 and 38.
About half of the study participants experienced a transient mental disorder—one that lasted only a short time and resolved with or without treatment. Forty-one percent of people in the study experienced mental health problems that lasted several years or longer.
Of those who maintained good mental health, most displayed certain personality traits and had fewer family members diagnosed with mental health problems. As children, they rarely expressed strongly negative emotions, had a lot of friends, and displayed excellent self-control. As adults, they were better educated, had higher-paying jobs, were in good relationships, and expressed more satisfaction with their lives than their peers. According to researchers, the realization that most people will experience a mental health disorder at some point in their lives may help lessen the stigma attached to these conditions.
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