3 in 10 Hong Kong secondary students likely to be suffering anxiety: survey

City University researcher urges parents to pay attention to their children's mental well-being

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 12 July, 2015, 6:03am
UPDATED : Sunday, 12 July, 2015, 6:03am

Three in 10 secondary school students are likely to be suffering from anxiety, a researcher has said, calling on parents to pay more attention to the mental well-being of their children.

The finding comes from a City University survey of more than 500 pupils that also shows one in five primary school pupils has the condition.

Parents should sit up and take note, as the survey measured the sense of happiness in both groups, said Dr Sylvia Kwok Lai Yuk-ching, CityU's associate professor of applied social sciences.

"Parents and schools should address … the prevalence of negative emotions among the pupils," Kwok said yesterday.

On Thursday, the Child Fatality Review Panel under the Social Welfare Department released research findings suggesting almost half of 87 youngsters - who had died of unnatural causes in 2010 and 2011 before they hit 18 - had committed suicide, with the youngest just 10 years old.

The latest study, conducted in 29 schools, asked 248 secondary and 334 primary pupils to rate their sense of happiness out of a full score of seven.

Only 39.6 per cent of the secondary pupils gave a rating of more than five, compared with 47.9 per cent among the primary pupils.

The study also found 30 per cent of the secondary students suffered from anxiety, while another 17.1 per cent were classified as "probable cases of anxiety".

As for the primary pupils, 20.7 per cent suffered from anxiety and 16.4 per cent were "probable cases".

Kwok said the data showed children tended to experience more negative emotions as they grew older.

Meanwhile, former chief secretary Anson Chan Fang On-sang launched the Project Citizens Foundation for youth development yesterday.

Chan, the foundation's director, said it hoped to provide an interactive platform for young people to express their ideas.

"Occupy Central shows our young people are willing to pursue their dreams," Chan said.

"We hope to encourage and inspire them to develop critical thinking, to participate in politics and governance and to uphold our core values."

Commentator and former publisher Dominic Tsim Tak-lung is the chairman of the foundation.