Financial strain in families has been "strongly linked" to poorer mental health and well-being, according to the Growing Up in Ireland data.

Research by the Economic and Social Research Institute, which was funded by the Health Service Executive, examined the risk and protective factors for mental health and well-being of children aged nine and teenagers aged 17.

The research was based on data collected before the Covid-19 pandemic.

It examined positive (life satisfaction) and negative (socio-emotional difficulties) in their lives.

Socio-emotional difficulties in this context can mean unhappy, downhearted or tearful. With peers, it can mean being picked on or bullied.

Overall, it found there were high levels of life satisfaction and low levels of socio-emotional difficulties among children and young people in Ireland.

However, socio-emotional difficulties were found to increase between three and nine years of age, before falling slightly between nine and 13.

Between 13 and 17 years of age, levels remained stable for males but increased very significantly for females.

At the age of 17, young women tended to have slightly lower levels of life satisfaction than young men.

Socio-emotional difficulties were found to vary by family background, with higher levels found among more socio-economically disadvantaged families and among those who lived in lone-parent families.

In contrast, it found that life satisfaction varied less markedly by socio-economic background, but was lower in lone-parent families.

For both age-groups, positive parent-child relationships were associated with lower socio-emotional difficulties.

On the other hand, children had greater socio-emotional difficulties where they experienced a conflictual or hostile relationship with their parents.

Unsurprisingly, friendships played a particularly important role in the well-being of the 17-year-olds, which the ESRI says reflects the growing importance of peers at this phase of a young people's lives.

The quality of relationships with teachers emerged as an important factor.

For younger children, conflict with teachers was associated with more socio-emotional difficulties.

For young adults, positive interaction with teachers in the form of praise or positive feedback was linked to fewer socio-emotional difficulties and greater life satisfaction.