Prevalence of emotional and behavioural problems among primary school children in Karachi, Pakistan - multi informant survey

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Objective: To determine emotional and behaviourable problem among school going children in Pakistan. Methods: A cross sectional survey of school children of certain towns within Karachi metropolitan area, aged 5 to 11 years during 1(st) half of 2006. SDQ was filled out by parents and school teachers for the same children. Demographic data of parents, teachers and children were also collected using a separate performa. Results: 7 private and 8 community schools agreed to participate. 1488 consent forms were sent to 700 parents of private school and 788 parents of community school children. A total of 675 parents agreed to participate in the study. The response rate was 45.3%. Assessment of children's mental health was conducted using Strength and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ). Parents rated 34.4% of children as falling under the "abnormal category on SDQ, slightly higher estimates 35.8% were reported by the teacher. The findings suggest a striking difference between the informants' ratings as well as gender wise difference in prevalence of common child mental health problems. Conclusion: In the present study prevalence of child mental health problems was higher than reported in studies from other countries. There was also a gender difference in prevalence, boys had higher estimates of behavior/externalizing problems, whereas emotional problems were more common amongst females. There is a need for developing programs to train, sensitise and mobilize teachers and parents regarding child's psychological, emotional and behavioral problems.


Indian Journal of Pediatrics