Predictors of adolescents' mental health problems in Saudi Arabia: Findings from the Jeeluna® national study

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Abstract

Background: Depression and anxiety among adolescents require further attention as they have profound harmful implications on several aspects of adolescents' wellbeing and can be associated with life threatening risk behaviors such as suicide. Objective: To examine the underlying risk factors for feeling so sad or hopeless and for feeling worried among adolescents in Saudi Arabia. Methods: Data from Jeeluna® national survey was used. A cross-sectional, multi-stage, stratified, cluster random sampling technique was applied among a sample of students aged 10-19years attending intermediate and secondary schools in Saudi Arabia. A self-administered questionnaire assessing several domains, including feeling so sad or hopeless and worried, was used to collect data. Logistic regression models were fitted to determine the different factors associated with mental health. Results: A sample of 12,121 students was included in this study. Feeling so sad or hopeless and feeling worried were significantly more prevalent among females and older adolescents (p<0.0001). The results showed that poor relationship with parents, negative body image, and chronic illness to be significantly associated with feeling so sad or hopeless and worried. Conclusions: Symptoms suggestive of mental health problems among adolescents in Saudi Arabia are prevalent and deserve special attention. Adopting effective strategies, including regular screening and intervention programs are highly needed to better address, detect, and control early signs of these problems.

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Abou Abbas, O., & AlBuhairan, F. (2017). Predictors of adolescents’ mental health problems in Saudi Arabia: Findings from the Jeeluna® national study. Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health, 11(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13034-017-0188-x

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