Psychiatric disorders among adolescents from Lebanon: prevalence, correlates, and treatment gap
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Adolescence is a critical age for the development of psychiatric disorders. Although Lebanon, a low-to-middle income country, has suffered from decades of war and political instability, the burden of psychiatric disorders among adolescents in Lebanon remains unclear. This study aims to estimate the prevalence of psychiatric disorders among adolescents in the Lebanese capital, Beirut, and to study the correlates and treatment seeking behavior associated with these disorders.
Through a multistage cluster sampling design, 510 adolescents, aged 11–17 years were recruited from a household sample in Beirut in 2012. Parents and adolescents completed a battery of self-reported questionnaires and interviews including the Development and Well-being Assessment (DAWBA), the Peer-Relations Questionnaire (PRQ), and a demographic/clinical information questionnaire. Logistic regression models were used to study the correlates of psychiatric disorders.
The 30-day prevalence of psychiatric disorders was 26.1 %, with anxiety disorders (13.1 %) and ADHD (10.2 %) being the most prevalent disorders. Only 6 % of those with disorders reported seeking professional help. Parental marital status, not attending school, having a chronic medical condition, having a family history of psychiatric disorders, as well as propensity to bullying and to being victimized by peers emerged as correlates of having psychiatric disorders.
A clear treatment gap is evident with a high 30-day prevalence of psychiatric disorders among adolescents in Beirut coupled with a very low percentage seeking treatment. Scaling up mental health services and addressing potential barriers to seeking care would be important to close this gap.
KeywordsAdolescence Mental health Lebanon Epidemiology Arab world
This study was funded through the Medical Practice Plan at the American University of Beirut. Data collection was completed by Information International, a research company based in Beirut, Lebanon. The authors would like to thank Dr. Robert Goodman, author of the DAWBA, for his guidance and support.
Compliance with ethical standards
The study was approved by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) at the American University of Beirut and has been performed in accordance with the ethical standards laid down in the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments. Written informed consents from participating parents/legal guardians and assents from adolescents were obtained.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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