The aim of this study was to investigate patterns of self-reported emotional and behavioral problems and self-rated well-being in relation to alcohol experiences among Swedish girls and boys in early adolescence. A general sample of 1383 young people aged 12 to 13 years reported their internalizing and externalizing problem styles, and their well-being and alcohol experiences were measured. Person-oriented analyses were applied to the data to determine specific mental health configurations (“types”) that occurred more frequently than expected by chance. Externalizing problems, in contrast to internalizing problems, oc-curred more commonly in adolescents who reported a high degree of well-being. Girls with low well-being and mental health problems were overrepresented among those with alcohol experiences. Findings suggest that gender and positive psychology perspectives should be taken into account when describing and explaining mental health among adolescents, especially adolescents with an early alcohol debut.
Vetenskapsrådet, Forte, FORMAS, Vinnova, Stiftelsen Säfstaholm, Stiftelsen Sunnerdahls handikappfond, Futurum Region Jönköpings län.