Internalizing symptoms are the most prevalent mental health problem in adolescents, with sharp increases seen, particularly for girls, and evidence that young people today report more problems than previous generations. It is therefore critical to measure and monitor these states on a large scale and consider correlates. We used novel panel network methodology to explore relationships between internalizing symptoms, well-being, and inter/intrapersonal indicators. A multiverse design was used with 32 conditions to consider the stability of results across arbitrary researcher decisions in a large community sample over three years (N = 15,843, aged 11-12 at Time 1). Networks were consistently similar for girls and boys. Stable trait-like effects within anxiety, attentional, and social indicators were found. Within-person networks were densely connected and suggested mental health and inter/intrapersonal correlates related to one another in similar complex ways. The multiverse design suggested the particular operationalization of items can substantially influence conclusions. Nevertheless, indicators such as thinking clearly, unhappiness, dealing with stress, and worry showed more consistent centrality, suggesting these indicators may play particularly important roles in the development of mental health in adolescence.
- mental health
- network psychometrics