Revista Española de Salud Pública
Print version ISSN 1135-5727
PANIAGUA REPETTO, Horacio and GARCIA CALATAYUD, Salvador. Warning Signs of Eating, Depressive, Learning Disorders and Violent Behavior among Teenagers in Cantabria, Spain. Rev. Esp. Salud Publica [online]. 2003, vol.77, n.3, pp. 411-422. ISSN 1135-5727. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1135-57272003000300011.
Background: Teenagers relatively frequently suffer from eating, depressive learning and violent behavior disorders which are often detected late. This study was aimed at investigating the presence of warning signs among teenagers in view of these disorders and to relate them to the social and family environment and living habits. Methods: A descriptive, cross-sectional study by means of a survey of 2,178 teenagers in the 12-16 age range, representative of the teenagers of Cantabria. The warning signs were defined based on the American Medical Association and American Psychiatric Association criteria. Results: Warning signs of learning disorders related to the male gender, attending public schools and repeating a year were found among 4.2% of the teenagers. Warning signs of eating disorders and depressive disorders, both related to the female gender, were found respectively among 4.3% and 10.2% of the teenagers. A total of 8.4% showed warning signs of violent behavior, more often among males. The signs investigated are spread homogeneously, increasing with age, and are significantly related to a higher degree of smoking, drinking and illegal drugs, episodes of drunkenness and a certain use of free time on the part of the teenagers, with a higher degree of consumption of addictive substances among friends and family members. Conclusions: The routine assessment during the teen years of warning signs of having the disorders studied would make their early detection possible.
Keywords : Adolescent; Eating behavior; Depression; Learning; Violence.