Elucidating adolescent aspirational models for the design of public mental health interventions: a mixed-method study in rural Nepal.

Sauharda Rai, Safar Bikram Adhikari, Nanda Raj Acharya, Bonnie N. Kaiser, Brandon A. Kohrt

Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health

Published on: 21 December 2017

Background: Adolescent aspirational models are sets of preferences for an idealized self. Aspirational models influence behavior and exposure to risk factors that shape adult mental and physical health. Cross-cultural understandings of adolescent aspirational models are crucial for successful global mental health programs. The study objective was elucidating adolescent aspirational models to inform interventions in Nepal.

Methods: Twenty qualitative life trajectory interviews were conducted among adolescents, teachers, and parents.Card sorting (rating and ranking activities) were administered to 72 adolescents aged 15–19 years, stratified by caste/ethnicity: upper caste Brahman and Chhetri, occupational caste Dalit, and ethnic minority Janajati.

Results: Themes included qualities of an ideal person; life goals, barriers, and resources; emotions and coping; and causes of interpersonal violence, harmful alcohol use, and suicide. Education was the highest valued attribute of ideal persons. Educational attainment received higher prioritization by marginalized social groups (Dalit and Janajati). Poverty was the greatest barrier to achieving life goals. The most common distressing emotion was ‘tension’, which girls endorsed more frequently than boys. Sharing emotions and self-consoling were common responses to distress.Tension was the most common reason for alcohol use, especially among girls. Domestic violence, romantic break-ups,and academic pressure were reasons for suicidality.

Conclusion: Inability to achieve aspirational models due to a range of barriers was associated with negative emotions—notably tension—and dysfunctional coping that exacerbates barriers, which ultimately results in the triad of interpersonal violence, substance abuse, and suicidality. Interventions should be framed as reducing the locally salient idiom of distress tension and target this triad of threats. Regarding intervention content, youth-endorsed coping mechanisms should be fortified to counter this distress pathway.

Keywords: Children, Adolescents, Interpersonal violence, Low-income countries, Stigma, Idioms of distress, Cultural models, Substance abuse, Suicide, Nepal


Head Office
  • Baluwatar, Kathmandu, Nepal
  • G.P.O Box 8974/C.P.C. Box 612
  • +977-01-4431717/4437124/4424082
  • tponepal@tponepal.org.np
Toll Free Number
1660 010 2005
हरेक दिन बिहान ८ बजे देखि साझ ६ बजे सम्म !! COVID-19 को मनोसामाजिक प्रभाव !!

यदि मनसँग सम्बन्धित समस्या भएमा मनोसामाजिक सहयोग तथा परामर्शका लागि यो नम्बरमा सम्पर्क गर्न सक्नुहुनेछ। NTC बाट यस नम्बरमा फोन गर्दा कुनै शुल्क लाग्दैन।

Every Day Form 8 AM to 6 PM COVID-19, Psychosocial Impact !!

Please call this number for psychosocial support and counseling/consultation. You can call this number free of cost from Nepal Telecom network.

Subscribe Us

    Connect With Us