Behavioural and Emotional Problems in Adolescents

Rambha Pathak, Ravi C Sharma, U C Parvan, B P Gupta, Rishi K Ojha, N K Goel


Adolescents are highly vulnerable age to psychiatric disorders. This study aimed to explore the prevalence and patterns of behavioural and emotional problems in adolescents. It was also aimed to explore associations between socio-environmental stressors and adverse outcomes.

A school based cross-sectional study was conducted between January and July 2008. A stratified random sampling was done. 1150 adolescents in 12 to 18 year age group in grades 7 to 12 in 10 co-educational schools (government run and private) were the subjects of the study. Behavioural and emotional problems were assessed using Youth Self-Report (2001) questionnaire. Family stressors were assessed using a pre-tested 23 item questionnaire. Statistical analysis used:  Univariate and multivariate analysis was done. Multiple logistic regression analysis was also done.

Prevalence of behavioural and emotional problems in adolescents was found to be 30%, with girls exceeding boys in all age groups. Internalizing syndrome was the most common (28.6%) psychiatric problem. On stepwise regression analysis, a perceived lack of emotional proximity to mother had the highest odds (3.489) followed by addiction in father (2.642) and marital discord in parents (1.402). Type of school, type of family, socioeconomic status, relationship with father, mother's employment and educational status were not found to be significantly associated.

An alarming number of our adolescents suffer from emotional and behavioural problems which have their roots in the family environment. These data suggest urgency in establishing a school based mental health service.

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