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Child Care Health Dev. 2014 May;40(3):319-26. doi: 10.1111/cch.12101. Epub 2013 Aug 19.

Prevalence and associated factors of emotional and behavioural problems in Chinese school adolescents: a cross-sectional survey.

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Department of Social Medicine, School of Public Health, China Medical University, Shenyang, Liaoning, China.



Emotional and behavioural problems are key health issues in adolescence. The aim of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of emotional and behavioural problems in Chinese school adolescents and to explore associated factors.


This cross-sectional study was conducted during the period of November/December 2009. A questionnaire including the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) self-reported version, and the characteristics of child (age, gender, only child and study pressure), parents (parent-adolescent relationship and parental expectations) and families (living area, family structure, socio-economic status and negative life events) was distributed to our study population. A total of 5220 Chinese adolescents (aged 11-18) from 30 public schools in Liaoning province completed the questionnaire. Multivariate logistic analysis was used to explore the factors associated with emotional and behavioural problems.


The average problem score was 11.28 (SD = 5.86) and the 10.7% scored above the cut-off for emotional and behavioural problems. Factors that increased the risk of having emotional and behavioural problems were: poor parent-adolescent relationship, experiencing more negative life events, older age, having study pressure, living in rural areas, boys and lower parental expectations.


The prevalence of emotional and behavioural problems among Chinese adolescents was lower level compared with those reported in other countries. We found parent-adolescent relationship, negative life events and age to be the strongest contributing factors of emotional and behavioural problems.


China; cross-sectional survey; emotional and behavioural problem; school adolescent

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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