Keeping Adolescent Romantic Relationships in Mind (When there are Mental Health Problems)

Orygen, The National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health, Australia

This evidence summary details the current research literature on working with adolescents and the importance of keeping romantic relationships in mind when they present with mental health problems.

‘Anecdotal reports suggest that adolescents presenting to counselling/health/mental health services often identify difficulties in their past or current romantic relationships (e.g. repeated negative interactions with a partner(s), experiencing partner abuse, or very intense/stormy relationships) or a recent break-up as the main trigger of their current symptoms or distress. These adolescents are often in significant distress and may present with severe depressive symptoms and suicidal risk.’

The evidence summary covers the following topics:

  • ‘Why should you think about romantic relationships when working with adolescents?’
  • ‘Can engaging in romantic relationships in adolescences put adolescents at increased risk of experiencing mental health difficulties?’
  • ‘Are break-ups a predictor of depression in adolescents?’
  • ‘Some factors that may increase vulnerability to distress relating to developing or maintaining a romantic relationship in adolescence’
  • ‘So how can we identify adolescents who are vulnerable to experiencing significant distress relating to romantic relationships?’
  • ‘What about risk associated with experiencing victimisation in romantic relationships?’
  • ‘Specific therapies to consider when working with a young person experiencing mental health problems related to their romantic relationships’
  • ‘Brief tips for working with young people’
  • ‘Framework for working with young people and relationship issues’

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