European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

, Volume 15, Issue 5, pp 292–299 | Cite as

Co-existing symptoms and risk factors among African school children with hyperactivity-inattention symptoms in Kinshasa, Congo

  • Espérance Kashala
  • Astri Lundervold
  • Kristian Sommerfelt
  • Thorkild Tylleskär
  • Irene Elgen


The aims of the study were to explore hyperactivity–inattention (HI) symptoms and co-existing symptoms of emotional and behavioural problems among African school children and their relationship with health status, socio-demographic factors, and school performance. Method: A case–control approach was used. The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) was used to explore the co-existing emotional and behavioural symptoms and a semi-structured interview with parents to explore the socio-demographic variables. The sample included 357 school children at the age of 7–9 years: 183 children were defined as cases, defined by abnormal scores on the SDQ-HI scale and 174 randomly selected children among those with normal scores on the SDQ-HI were defined as controls. No age and gender differences were noticed between the two groups. Results: A younger maternal age at childbirth, and poor school performances were more frequent among cases than controls. Three quarter of the hyperactive-inattentive children had co-existing symptoms according to SDQ, the most common being conduct problems. Conclusion: As in other cultures, co-existence of HI symptoms and emotional and behavioural problems was found in this African setting. Further validation of behavioural screening instruments in African children is called for.


hyperactivity–inattention SDQ co-existing symptoms socio-demographic factors 


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Copyright information

© Steinkopff Verlag Darmstadt 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Espérance Kashala
    • 1
    • 2
  • Astri Lundervold
    • 3
  • Kristian Sommerfelt
    • 4
  • Thorkild Tylleskär
    • 2
    • 4
  • Irene Elgen
    • 4
  1. 1.Dept. of NeurologyKinshasa University HospitalKinshasaDem. Rep. of Congo
  2. 2.Centre for International HealthUniversity of BergenBergenNorway
  3. 3.Dept. of Biological and Medical PsychologyUniversity of BergenBergenNorway
  4. 4.Dept. of PaediatricsHaukeland University HospitalBergenNorway

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