Emotional and behavioral screening of in-school adolescents in Udupi taluk, Southern India
Background & Objectives: Adolescence is a crucial phase in life. This study explores the emotional and behavioral problems in adolescents and factors associated with them.
Methods: A total of 659 adolescents, comprising 273 females and 386 males in the age group of 14 to16 years, participated in the study. Two-stage stratified clustered sampling was used to screen the population. Strengths & Difficulty Questionnaire [SDQ] was used to assess adolescents' behavior and mental problems.
Results: Emotional problems predominated among female adolescents. Total difficulty scores [36.3%] were higher among male adolescents [38.1%] versus female participants [33.7%]. Apart from the total difficulty score and hyperactivity subdomains, all the other subdomains were significantly associated with the gender of the participant. On assessing for the association between school strata and subdomains of SDQ, it was observed that conduct problems, hyperactivity, peer problems, and total difficulty scores were significantly associated at p<0.001.
Conclusion: Our study findings indicate that a higher proportion of the in-school adolescents have scored in the abnormal range. It has also been observed that male adolescents had a higher rate of scoring in the abnormal range across all the subdomains except the emotional and hyperactivity subdomains. Provisions for retaining school counselors who are skilled and have the demonstrated ability to liaison with mental health professionals are the need of the hour.