Skip to main content

Adolescent Mental Health in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA): Where Are We and Where Do We Go from Here?

  • 239 Accesses

Part of the Global Perspectives on Health Geography book series (GPHG)

Abstract

Childhood and adolescence are time periods for human brain development and growth. Neuroimaging studies show that white matter volume and integrity increases throughout childhood and adolescence, with the frontal and temporal regions of the brain undergoing pronounced changes in adolescence (Tamnes et al. 2010). Decreases in frontal and temporal gray matter volume during adolescence result from environmental influences, as well as increasing white matter, the latter being essential as a transport mechanism of vital brain connections (Giedd et al. 1999). In parallel to these physiologic changes, marked cognitive changes include increases in abstract thought and reasoning (Piaget et al. 1977), improvements in IQ and working memory (Ostby et al. 2011), better problem solving and planning (Squeglia et al. 2013), and maturation of perspective taking (Sebastian et al. 2012). These changes suggest that the human brain exhibits heightened neural plasticity during adolescence, defined as the brain ability to adapt to internal or external changes. Environmental exposures and influences during adolescence determine these changes. For example, contextual neighborhood features such as the absence of opportunities for physical activity or an abundance of vaping stores influence adolescents to exhibit health risk behaviors such as sedentary lifestyles and drug use, which in turn influence the development of health outcomes, such as obesity and mental disorders. Fuhrmann et al. (2015) highlighted adolescence as a sensitive period of development where brain changes may be particularly susceptible to environmental influences, such as drugs, social stress, or cognitive training.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution.

Buying options

Chapter
USD   29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
eBook
USD   99.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as EPUB and PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Softcover Book
USD   129.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Compact, lightweight edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info
Hardcover Book
USD   129.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Durable hardcover edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

Learn about institutional subscriptions

References

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Caroline Barakat .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

Copyright information

© 2022 The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG

About this chapter

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this chapter

Barakat, C., Al Anouti, F. (2022). Adolescent Mental Health in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA): Where Are We and Where Do We Go from Here?. In: Barakat, C., Al Anouti, F. (eds) Adolescent Mental Health in The Middle East and North Africa. Global Perspectives on Health Geography. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-91790-6_1

Download citation

Publish with us

Policies and ethics