Researchers make ‘ethnic clothing’ link to mental health

Teenage girls from some minority communities who stick to their family customs have better mental health, researchers say.

Queen Mary University of London found Bangladeshi girls who chose traditional rather than Western dress had fewer behavioural and emotional problems.

The team said close-knit families and communities could help protect them.

Pressure to integrate fully could be stressful, the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health reported.

Adolescents are particularly vulnerable to mental health problems, and the researchers said that identity, often bound up in friendship choices or clothing, played a role.

They questioned a total of 1,000 white British and Bangladeshi 11 to 14-year-olds about their culture, social life and health, including questions designed to reveal any emotional or mental problems.

Bangladeshi pupils who wore traditional clothing were significantly less likely to have mental health problems than those whose style of dress was a mix of traditional and white British styles.

When this was broken down by gender, it appeared that only girls were affected.

No similar effect was found in white British adolescents who chose a mixture of clothes from their own and other cultures.



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