Young people’s mental health in context: Comparing life in the city and small communities in Siberia

Anthony Glendinning, Patrick West

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


The study compares young people's mental health in the major Siberian city of Novosibirsk with small communities of the surrounding region, at the end of the statutory period of secondary education. Data are drawn from a school-based questionnaire survey of ninth graders and semi-structured interviews. In line with the findings of international comparative studies, general health profiles are not good by Western standards, but extending such findings, general health appears even poorer in small communities and is differentiated further by the rural household's impoverished socio-economic circumstances. However, despite poorer general health among rural youth, the study finds the opposite for more specific profiles of mental health, which are worse among city youth. In this, distinctive social factors are associated with mental health differently in the large city and small communities of the region. In the relatively affluent city of Novosibirsk, self-worth and depression are differentiated by family background and engagement with the education system. By contrast, in small communities social capital associated with family support and kin-based networks become important resources instead. Positive mental health is bound up with the local cultural context, centred on the family household and 'traditions' of rural society.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1180-1191
Number of pages12
JournalSocial Science & Medicine
Issue number6
Early online date18 Jun 2007
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2007


  • Russia
  • mental health
  • rural
  • urban
  • socio-economic circumstances
  • Siberia
  • young people
  • parental bonding instrument


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