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J Adolesc Health. 2007 Dec;41(6):571-6. Epub 2007 Sep 29.

Mental health of adolescents in Tehran, Iran.

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1
Division of Epidemiology, Tobacco Prevention and Control Research Center, Shaheed Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

To investigate mental health in Iranian adolescents, particularly in high school students from urban areas.

METHOD:

A sample of 4599 girls and boys was selected from third year classes from high schools in Tehran by a stratified cluster random sampling method. They were investigated by means of the 12-item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12) in a cross-sectional study. Following the recommendations of Goldberg et al, the chosen cut-off point for the differentiation between individuals with and without psychiatric morbidity was a score of 7 because of the high mean score within the population.

RESULTS:

Of the students, 1270 (19.5%) achieved a GHQ-12 score above the threshold. Significantly more girls (34.1%) than boys (23.7%) had GHQ-12 scores indicating some psychiatric morbidity. On average, the 18-year-old adolescents reported a higher level of mental health problems compared with 17-year-old adolescents in the same school year.

CONCLUSION:

A considerable proportion of adolescent high school students experience mental disorders, with girls experiencing such disorders more frequently than boys. Periodic mental health surveys in high schools are proposed to identify students in need of counselling or treatment to improve their coping skills and problem-solving abilities.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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