Background: This study aimed to investigate the epidemiology of psychiatric disorders in children and adolescents in Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari Province of Iran.
Methods: This community-based cross-sectional study included 1038 children and adolescents aged 6-18 years from Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari province selected by the multistage cluster sampling method. Samples were interviewed using the Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia for School-Age Children. Also, demographic data (gender, age, child education, parent education, and economic situation) were obtained. Binary logistic regression was used to analyze the data.
Results: A total of 16.1% of participants were diagnosed to have psychiatric disorders. Total psychiatric disorders were significantly more prevalent in boys than in girls (P=0.025). Unemployment of fathers was significantly related to increased prevalence of psychiatric disorders in children (P=0.016). Other demographic variables had no significant correlation with prevalence of psychiatric disorders in children. Anxiety disorders were highly comorbid with behavioral problems (16.4%). Behavioral disorders also had high comorbidity with elimination disorders (16.7%) and substance use disorders (10%). Enuresis was the most frequent psychiatric disorder (5.8%), followed by epilepsy (3.5%), tobacco use (3.4%), and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (3%). Total anxiety disorders were the most prevalent group of psychiatric disorders in the sample (21.9%), followed by behavioral disorders (16.3%), elimination disorders (8.2%), and neurodevelopmental disorders (4.5%).
Conclusion: Our findings suggest that psychiatric disorders affect a significant number of children and adolescents. Prevalence estimates and identification of sources of heterogeneity have important implications to service providers and modifications are needed in mental health services in the community.