Examining Predictors of Psychological Distress Among Youth Engaging with Jigsaw for a Brief Intervention

Niall Mac Dhonnagáin, Aileen O'Reilly, Mark Shevlin, Barbara Dooley

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Risk factors for psychological distress among help-seeking youth are poorly understood. Addressing this gap is important for informing mental health service provision. This study aimed to identify risk factors among youth attending Jigsaw, a youth mental health service in Ireland. Routine data were collected from N = 9,673 youth who engaged with Jigsaw (Mean age = 16.9 years, SD = 3.14), including presenting issues, levels of psychological distress, age, and gender. Confirmatory Factor Analysis identified thirteen factors of clustering issues. Several factors, including Self-criticism and Negative Thoughts, were strongly associated with items clustering as psychological distress, however these factors were poorly predictive of distress as measured by the CORE (YP-CORE: R  = 14.7%, CORE-10: R  = 6.9%). The findings provide insight into associations between young people's identified presenting issues and self-identified distress. Implications include applying appropriate therapeutic modalities to focus on risk factors and informing routine outcome measurement in integrated youth mental health services. [Abstract copyright: © 2022. The Author(s).]
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages4
JournalChild psychiatry and human development
Early online date28 Sept 2022
Publication statusPublished online - 28 Sept 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported through the YouLead programme, funded by the Health Research Board in Ireland (Grant no. CDA-IR-2018–001).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).


  • Youth
  • Mental health
  • Psychological distress
  • Risk factors


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