Icelandic Youth Happy Despite Crisis Skip to content

Icelandic Youth Happy Despite Crisis

The well-being of Icelandic teenagers has not worsened despite the economic crisis, according to research undertaken by Bryndís Björk Ásgeirsdóttir, a lector at the psychology and public health division of Reykjavík University.

The 2007 National Day in Reykjavík. Photo by Eygló Svala Arnarsdóttir.

The symptoms of anxiety among 14 to 15-year-olds increased visibly between 1997 and 2006 and depression increased among girls in that age group. In 2003, eight percent of girls had symptoms of depression and 5.2 percent of boys, Morgunbladid reports.

The percentage continued to grow in the following years—peaking at 8.5 percent among girls—but is now on the decline.

Currently, fewer than five percent of boys have symptoms of depression and eight percent of girls. The number of teenagers who suffer from anxiety is also dropping.

Ásgeirsdóttir’s research concluded that Icelandic youth are satisfied with life—88 percent of girls and 84 percent of boys. Most teenagers also describe themselves as happy.

Ásgeirsdóttir said the conclusions were not surprising. Similar studies show that in countries with developed educational and healthcare systems the mental impact of an economic downturn is softer than if these factors are not at hand.

Moreover, a campaign encouraging parents to spend more time with their children has delivered the desired results—today around 45 percent of teenagers spend most weekends with their parents while that percentage was 33 percent in 1997.

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