Zeitschrift für Depression und Angst

Zeitschrift für Depression und Angst
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ISSN: 2167-1044


Screening of Emotional and Behavioral Problems among Youth in the Schools of Beirut

Hala Kerbage, Ramzi Haddad, Marouan Zoghbi, Bernard Gerbaka and Sami Richa

Objective: Screening of mental health problems in children and adolescents is necessary for epidemiological research on the prevalence of these problems. We conducted a population screening study of emotional and behavioral disorders among 1200 11-16 year old adolescents in Beirut, Lebanon. Method: Data was collected from parents and youth using the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire. Twelve schools were selected, eight private and four public, within Beirut and its direct Southern Suburb. Pupils were randomly sampled from each class of selected schools. Prevalence of probable psychiatric diagnoses was measured using the SDQ multi-informant algorithm. Results: Prevalence of abnormal symptom scores is reported for both parents and youth: abnormal total difficulties score: parents 14.7% (95% CI 12.3-17.1), youth 4.7% (3.2-6.1). The prevalence of probable psychiatric diagnoses was 9.8% (7.8-11.8) for any psychiatric diagnosis, 4.3% (2.9-5.6) for behavioral disorder, and 6% (4.4-7.5) for emotional disorder. The most significant association with abnormal scores was found for the variable of being in a public school. Conclusion: Our study shows a prevalence of 9.8% for any psychiatric diagnosis among 11-16 year old youth. One of the most significant associations that we found with abnormal scores was being in a public school, which should highlight the necessity at a national policy level to improve the conditions of the public schools. Moreover, these findings suggest the need for greater investment in community mental health care services for youth.