More than a third of S4 girls have a "very high" level of emotional problems, which could be linked to use of social media, a new report from the Scottish Government has found.

Surveys of secondary school pupils found that overall, 17% of youngsters in S1 to S4 had such issues.

That rose to 34% for girls in S4 – more than three times the 11% of boys in this age group who report such problems.

The report found 7% of boys and 14% of girls in S1 were classed as having very high emotional problems.

In S2, this was the case for 7% of boys and 22% of girls, and in S3 it was the case for 8% of boys and 29% of girls.

The research, which was based on surveys from more than 32,000 secondary pupils across five different council areas, also found just 6% of girls in S4 are likely to have high positive mental well-being, compared to 14% for boys.

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According to the report, girls' tendency to "compare themselves more to others they see on social media" could be the reason for this.

It states: "It is possible that the widening inequality in emotional well-being is partly influenced by differences in how adolescent boys and girls tend to engage with social media.

"For example, girls tend to prefer photo-based platforms and compare themselves more to others they see on social media."

According to the research, which was carried out between 2015 and 2017, a third (33%) of secondary pupils felt "strained by school work", while just over a quarter (26%) said they would not speak to a family member if there was something they were worried about.

Two-fifths (40%) reported suffering from bullying, with the same number saying they had experienced prejudice in some form.

More than a fifth (22%) of the almost 25,000 primary school pupils who were questioned reported having "lower than average mood".

Among P5 pupils, 26% of boys and 24% of girls suffered from this, although the proportion fell to 19% for both sexes in P7.

Overall, two-fifths (40%) of primary children of both sexes were classed as having a higher than average life satisfaction.

More than a third (36%) of primary pupils reported worrying about schoolwork, while 15% said they had few or no friends.

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A quarter (25%) reported having a "poor quality" relationship with their parents.

These are some of the "numerous factors" from "different domains" that can impact on children and young people's mental health and well-being, according to the report.

It explains: "School experiences and interactions with family members and peers are consistently important for good mental health and well-being.

"Good general health and physical activity are also key.

"In addition, perceptions of the local area are linked to certain mental health outcomes but less strongly than other factors."

Youngsters who suffer from "clusters of multiple risk factors are especially vulnerable to mental health problems", it added.

Liberal Democrat mental health spokeswoman Emma Walker said the survey "shines an uncomfortable spotlight on the emotional pressures that many of our young people are feeling".

She added: "With waits for mental health treatment regularly running into the months and years, it's imperative that the Scottish Government urgently deliver additional mental health services to turn these worrying trends around.

"Liberal Democrats believe that should start with a new practitioner in every GP practice to end the waiting times scandal and 24/7 cover in every A&E."

A Scottish Government spokesman said: "We want to ensure that all pupils feel safe and as comfortable about talking about their mental health, as they would their physical health.

"While the survey shows a snapshot from a specific time, it will help us to better understand the drivers behind negative experiences amongst children and young people.

"Our FeelsFM campaign also shows that stigma, the availability of trusted adults and finding the right words to express their feelings are all things that matter to young people.

"We've set out a package of measures to ensure everyone gets the support they need, including expanding access to counsellors to every secondary school in Scotland with the aim of helping schools increase capacity to support pupils and flexibility to meet local needs."