Prevalence and Correlates of Psychiatric Disorders in a National Survey of Iranian Children and Adolescents
Objective: Considering the impact of rapid sociocultural, political, and economical changes on societies and families, population-based surveys of mental disorders in different communities are needed to describe the magnitude of mental health problems and their disabling effects at the individual, familial, and societal levels.
Method: A population-based cross sectional survey (IRCAP project) of 30 532 children and adolescents between 6 and 18 years was conducted in all provinces of Iran using a multistage cluster sampling method. Data were collected by 250 clinical psychologists trained to use the validated Persian version of the semi-structured diagnostic interview Kiddie-Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia-PL (K-SADS-PL).
Results: In this national epidemiological survey, 6209 out of 30 532 (22.31%) were diagnosed with at least one psychiatric disorder. The anxiety disorders (14.13%) and behavioral disorders (8.3%) had the highest prevalence, while eating disorders (0.13%) and psychotic symptoms (0.26%) had the lowest. The prevalence of psychiatric disorders was significantly lower in girls (OR = 0.85; 95% CI: 0.80-0.90), in those living in the rural area (OR = 0.80; 95% CI: 0.73-0.87), in those aged 15-18 years (OR = 0.92; 95% CI: 0.86-0.99), as well as that was significantly higher in those who had a parent suffering from mental disorders (OR = 1.96; 95% CI: 1.63-2.36 for mother and OR = 1.33; 95% CI: 1.07-1.66 for father) or physical illness (OR = 1.26; 95% CI: 1.17-1.35 for mother and OR = 1.19; 95% CI: 1.10-1.28 for father).
Conclusion: About one fifth of Iranian children and adolescents suffer from at least one psychiatric disorder. Therefore, we should give a greater priority to promoting mental health and public health, provide more accessible services and trainings, and reduce barriers to accessing existing services.
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