Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública
versão impressa ISSN 1020-4989
KOHN, Robert et al. Risk factors for behavioral and emotional problems in childhood: a community study in Uruguay. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2001, vol.9, n.4, pp. 211-218. ISSN 1020-4989. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1020-49892001000400002.
Objectives. To explore some of the demographic risk factors that are associated with the risk of behavioral or emotional problems in children, and to examine the possibility of an association between psychological stress in the parents and psychological problems in their children. Methods. In this study, the presence of psychological stress in the parents and certain psychosocial characteristics that increase the risk of mental problems in childhood were examined in a sample of Uruguayan children from three communities, two urban and one rural. The study, which was carried out in Ciudad Vieja and Barrio Sur, in the city of Montevideo, and in Colonia de Sacramento, a rural town, comprised 115 children between the ages of 5 and 15. Mothers answered the Child Psychiatric Morbidity Questionnaire (QMPI), an instrument for the detection of behaviors pointing to the presence of emotional problems in children. Both parents also supplied the demographic information requested in the Psychiatric Epidemiology Research Interview Demoralization Scale; they answered the CAGE questionnaire, a screening tool for alcoholism; they responded to the Social Support Network Inventory; and they answered questions about their self-perceived mental health. Results. Fifty-three percent of the children had scores greater than 6 on the QMPI, which indicates the possible presence of behavioral or emotional problems. Fathers' self-perception of emotional problems and mothers' feeling of being demoralized showed a statistically significant association with a greater risk of behavioral or emotional problems in their children. Conclusions. In light of our results, mental health in childhood is a social and public health problem that warrants further epidemiologic study in Uruguay.
Palavras-chave : Salud mental; Uruguay; infancia; problemas conductuales.