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Influence of psychosocial risk factors on the trajectory of mental health problems from childhood to adolescence: a longitudinal study

DOI: 10.1186/1471-244x-13-31

Keywords: Child, Adolescent, Violence, Epidemiology, Longitudinal studies, Psychopathology, Risk factors, Mental health, Developing countries

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A population-based sample of 6- to 13-year-olds with CAMHP was followed-up from 2002–2003 (Time 1/T1) to 2007–2008 (Time 2/T2), with 86 out of 124 eligible children/adolescents at T1 being reassessed at T2 (sample loss: 30.6%). Outcome: CAMHP at T2 according to the Child Behavior Checklist/CBCL’s total problem scale. Psychosocial factors: T1 variables (child/adolescent’s age, family socioeconomic status); trajectory of variables from T1 to T2 (child/adolescent exposure to severe physical punishment, mother exposure to severe physical marital violence, maternal anxiety/depression); and T2 variables (maternal education, child/adolescent’s social support and pro-social activities).Multivariate analysis identified two risk factors for child/adolescent MHP at T2: aggravation of child/adolescent physical punishment and aggravation of maternal anxiety/depression.The current study shows the importance of considering child/adolescent physical punishment and maternal anxiety/depression in intervention models and mental health care policies.Child and adolescent mental health problems (CAMHP) are prevalent worldwide: approximately 12% of youth have a mental disorder [1]. Even though reports of CAMHP prevalence rates greatly vary among developing and developed countries across the globe, recent systematic reviews clarify that differences occur mainly as a result of methodological characteristics of epidemiological studies [2,3]. Furthermore, mental health problems are a leading cause of disability in children and adolescents worldwide [4], causing enormous economic costs to society as a whole [5,6].Currently, in order to understand the onset, course and factors associated with CAMHP there is a need to adopt a developmental perspective based on longitudinal studies [7,8]. Developmental data regarding risk and protective factors associated with CAMHP is essential to the planning of intervention models and policies; as these factors can provide a basis for treatment strategies and


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