The Invisible Risk Group.
Researchers studied 12,395 European teenagers ages 14-16 to identify which risky behaviors were linked to depression, anxiety, conduct problems, and self-destructive behaviors. Risky behaviors included excessive alcohol use, illegal drug use, inadequate sleep, sedentary behavior, and excessive time spent watching TV, on the computer, or playing video games. The researchers identified three risk groups. The high risk group accounted for 13% of adolescents. They were likely to engage in all the risk behaviors previously mentioned and were most at risk for mental illness. The low-risk group accounted for 58% of adolescents. They engage in one or no risky behaviors and were at the lowest risk for mental illness. Researchers named the third group the invisible risk group. They had the same risk for mental illness as the high risk group but only participated in unobtrusive risky behaviors such as inadequate sleep, excessive media use, and sedentary behavior. The authors of the study conclude, “While discussions with adolescents often focus on substance abuse and delinquency, the risk behaviors indentured here need to be considered, and special attention given to encouraging sufficient sleep, participation in sports, and using new media moderately.”
World Psychiatry, February 2013