Gender, age, religion and positive mental health among adolescents in a Ghanaian socio-cultural context
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Against the backdrop of scant research on the relationship between sociodemographic characteristics and positive mental health in Ghana, the aim of the current study was twofold: Firstly, to test a hypothesised model of positive mental health across gender and to determine gender differences in the structural relations for hope, perceptions of support, life satisfaction, emotional well-being components of mental health and emotional distress; and, secondly, to explore possible gender, age and religious-affiliation differences in respect of the levels of these variables within the prevailing socio-cultural context. We used structural equation modelling
(SEM) to test the hypothesised model across gender, and carried out a multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) to determine the group differences in 717 school going adolescents from the Northern region of Ghana. The hypothesised measurement model fit the observed data, with measurement invariance established. Gender differences in the structural relations were observed across the variables, with males for Christian participants, Islamic religion was strongly linked to stronger emotional well-being. We discuss the implications for research and intervention.