Psychosocial issues in a child and adolescent psychiatric clinic population in Nigeria
Psychosocial issues and interventions play a very important role in the aetiology, course and prognosis of several child psychiatric disorders. Psychosocial problems in a child and adolescent psychiatric clinic population in Nigeria were documented as a preliminary step towards the planning and development of this new facility.
A standardised assessment procedure was integrated into the routine at the clinic when services commenced. Psychosocial stressors and life events were measured using the interview method so that in–depth information could be obtained.
Over the 3-year period of study, 79 (62.2%) of the 127 new referrals to the clinic had significant psychosocial stressors in the year preceding presentation. Problems with primary support, such as separation from parents to live with relatives, disruption of the family, abandonment by mother, psychiatric illness in a parent and sexual/physical abuse, occurred in 50 (39.4%) of the subjects. Problems with social environment occurred in 11 (8.7 %), 39 (30.7 %) had educational problems, 5 (3.9%) had economic problems and 15 (11.8%) of the children had ‘other’ psychosocial stressors. Significantly more children and adolescents with disruptive behaviour disorders and disorders like enuresis, separation anxiety and suicidal behaviour had psychosocial stressors when compared to children with psychotic conditions, autistic disorder and epilepsy (χ2 = 9.6; p = 0.048).
The importance of the psychosocial diagnostic dimension in routine practice is illustrated in this study. Some psychosocial factors identified are cultural practices. The effects of these practices on child mental health require further study.
Key wordspsychosocial child psychiatry clinic Nigeria
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