Adverse life experiences and mental health of adolescents in Ghana: a gendered analysis

Samuel Adjorlolo, Adote Anum, Ken Yeng Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Adolescents living in sub-Saharan Africa have increased exposure to adverse life experiences (ALEs). The current study examines gender differences in the prevalence of ALEs, mental health outcomes and association between ALEs and mental health outcomes of school-going adolescents in Ghana, West Africa. A sample of 1,886 adolescents (1,174 females) completed mental health and ALEs self-report measures. A series of descriptive and multiple linear regression analysis was conducted. Results revealed girls report higher mental health problems than boys. However, there was gender similarity in the prevalence of ALEs, except for substance misuse and trauma to head that were reported more by boys. The effect of ALEs on mental health outcomes was largely invariant across gender. Substance misuse, victimization experiences and school-level stress significantly predict depressive symptoms in both boys and girls. Interventions targeting the ALEs investigated in this study would help improve the mental health of boys and girls.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)444-456
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Adolescence and Youth
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2022


  • Adolescents
  • Africa
  • Ghana
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • mental health
  • psychosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)


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