Psychiatric disorders in children and adolescents in a middle-income Latin American country
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Background Child and adolescent mental health has scarcely been studied in developing countries, though it is an important aspect of health. Mental health problems in youth often continue into adulthood if not diagnosed or treated in time. Methods The Sistema de Evaluacion de Ninos y Adolescentes (SENA) [Child and Adolescent Evaluation System] was used to evaluate mental health indicators in a sample of students in Northern Chile. Two age-appropriate versions of the assessment were applied to a total sample of 5043 students, which included an elementary education sample of 1953 schoolchildren from fourth grade through sixth grade (ages 8 to 13 years), and a Secondary School sample of 3090 schoolchildren from seventh grade (the last year of elementary school) through the last year of Secondary school (senior high school) (ages 12 to 19 years). For each group, the version of the assessment used was determined by the students' grade level. Both samples included municipal, government-subsidized, and private schools. Results In this student population, depression, anxiety, and behavioral disorders were the main mental health problems identified, and indicators revealed a progressive increase in cases over the years, coinciding with the global epidemiological scenario. Males showed a greater presence of externalizing behaviors related to mental health problems associated with aggression and defiant behavior. However, females showed the highest number of mental health issues overall, especially regarding problems related to internalization. There are significant differences between school types. Conclusions Our sample population analysis indicates that early intervention is necessary for the diagnosis and treatment of youth, with the goal of reducing the probability that psychiatric disorders will be prolonged, evolving, and worsening in adulthood.
Artículo de publicación ISI
Quote ItemBMC Psychiatry (2020) 20:104
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