The Indian Journal of Pediatrics

, Volume 76, Issue 6, pp 623–627 | Cite as

Prevalence of emotional and behavioural problems among primary school children in Karachi, Pakistan — multi informant survey

  • Ehsan Ullah Syed
  • Sajida Abdul Hussein
  • Sana-e-Zehra Haidry
Original Article



To determine emotional and behaviourable problem among school going children in Pakistan.


A cross sectional survey of school children of certain towns within Karachi metropolitan area, aged 5 to 11 years during 1st half of 2006. SDQ was filled out by parents and school teachers for the same children. Demographic data of parents, teachers and children were also collected using a separate performa.


7 private and 8 community schools agreed to participate. 1488 consent forms were sent to 700 parents of private school and 788 parents of community school children. A total of 675 parents agreed to participate in the study. The response rate was 45.3%. Assessment of children’s mental health was conducted using Strength and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ). Parents rated 34.4% of children as falling under the “abnormal category on SDQ, slightly higher estimates 35.8% were reported by the teacher. The findings suggest a striking difference between the informants’ ratings as well as gender wise difference in prevalence of common child mental health problems.


In the present study prevalence of child mental health problems was higher than reported in studies from other countries. There was also a gender difference in prevalence; boys had higher estimates of behavior/externalizing problems, whereas emotional problems were more common amongst females. There is a need for developing programs to train, sensitise and mobilize teachers and parents regarding child’s psychological, emotional and behavioral problems.

Key word

Child mental health Prevalence Risk factors 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Javad AM, Kundi MZ, Khan AP. Emotional and behavioural problems among school children in Pakistan. J Pak Medi Assoc 1992; 42: 181–184.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Syed E, Abdul Hussein S, Mahmud S. Screening for emotional and behavioural problems amongst 5 to 11 year old school children in Karachi, Pakistan. Social Psychiatr Psychiatr Epidemiol 2007; 42: 421–427.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Nikapota AD. Child psychiatry in developing countries. British J Psychiatr 1991; 158: 743–751.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Mullick MS, Goodman R. The prevalence of psychiatric disorders among 5–10 year-olds in rural, urban and slum areas in Bangladesh: an exploratory study. Social Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol 2005; 40: 663–671.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Srinath S, Girimaji SC, Gururaj G, Seshadri S, Subbakrishna DK, Bhola P, Kumar N. Epidemiological study of child & adolescent psychiatric disorders in urban and rural areas of Bangalore, India. Indian J Med Res 2005; 122: 67–79.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Compulsory Primary Education Ordinance. Government of Pakistan 2001.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Federal Bureau of Statistics (FBS). Government of Pakistan.
  8. 8.
    Goodman R. The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire: a research note. J Child Psychology Psychiatry 1997; 38: 581–586.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Goodman R. Psychometric properties of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire. J Am Acad Child Adolescent Psychiat 1999; 40: 1334–1137.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Samad L, Hollis C, Prince M, Goodman R. Child and adolescent psychopathology in a developing country: testing the validity of the Strength and Difficulty Questionnaire (Urdu Version). Internat J Methods Psychiatr Research 2005; 14: 158–166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 12.
    Davé S, Nazareth I, Senior R, Sherr L. Comparison of Father and Mother Report of Child Behaviour on the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire. Child Psychiatry and Human Development. 2008; 12A (online early edition ahead of publication)Google Scholar
  12. 13.
    Hyaes L. Problem behaviours in early primary school children: Australian normative data using the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire. Australia New Zealand Journal Psychiatry 2007; 41:231–238.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Dr. K C Chaudhuri Foundation 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ehsan Ullah Syed
    • 1
  • Sajida Abdul Hussein
    • 1
  • Sana-e-Zehra Haidry
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryThe Aga Khan UniversityKarachiPakistan
  2. 2.Sindh Education FoundationKarachiPakistan

Personalised recommendations