Adolescent mental health is crucial for social competence and accomplishment in later life. The World Health Organization (WHOs) estimates that approximately 20% of adolescents suffer from psychological symptoms. However, improving family risk and school environments can largely promote adolescent mental health. A longitudinal survey was conducted to investigate adolescent psychological well-being (PWB) status and associated factors in adolescents 15-20 years of age. Family and school context variables were interviewed and recorded. A total of 2896 participants were included from high, middle, and less urbanized resident areas in Northern Taiwan with completed interview data. Using multivariate regression analysis, factors associated with adolescent PWB at various stages included quarrelsome parents, quarrels with parents, severed friendships, and cigarette and alcohol use. In all three adolescent stages, females yielded higher psychological symptom scores than did males, and diverse weights of risk factors on PWB were observed between genders. Family arguments and cigarette and alcohol use were found to have more pronounced effects on outcomes among females than males. Whereas males are more sensitive to severed friendships than females, cigarette and alcohol use showed more harmful effects on mental health in earlier adolescence than in later life. Moreover, family arguments and severed friendships in earlier adolescence were found to have lasting effects on PWB in later adolescence. In this study, gender differences were observed in the temporal relationship on adolescent mental health. Variables of family arguments and severed friendships exhibited short-term and long-term effects on adolescent mental health across the early to late developmental stages. The family argument environment and regulating cigarette and alcohol use are worthy of focus to promote adolescent mental health.
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