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Childhood behavioural disorders in Ambo district, western Ethiopia. I. Prevalence estimates.

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  • 1Oromia Health Bureau, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.


The study was conducted between September 1994 and May 1995 in Ambo district, western Ethiopia. The prevalence of childhood behavioural disorder in children was found to be 17.7%. Behavioural disorder was found to be more common in boys than in girls. The prevalence increased with age. The most frequent symptoms reported were headache and nervousness. The least prevalent symptom was stealing things from home. As age increased, the risk of behavioural disorder increased. The increase in risk was statistically significant in the 15-year-old group when compared to the age group 5-7 years (adjusted Odds Ratio, OR = 1.89, 95% confidence interval, CI: 1.08-2.85). Childhood mental disorder was statistically significantly associated with parental age and with parental marital status. Children whose parents were < or = 24 years old had a higher risk of having mental disorders (OR: 2.03, 95% CI: 1.30-3.16) compared to those children whose parents were in the 45+ age group. Children whose parents were categorized as unmarried, divorced, separated, or widowed had a higher risk of having behavioural disorders (OR: 2.22, 95% CI: 1.70-2.91) than children whose parents were married. There was a statistically significant association between parental psychoneurosis and children's behavioural disorders; children whose mothers had psychoneuroses were at a higher risk of having behavioural disorders as compared to those whose mothers had no psychoneurosis (OR: 1.78, 95% CI: 1.34-2.35).

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