The Prevalence and Socio-Demographic Correlates of Mental Distress in Children: The Case of Guenet Church Child Sponsorship Project, Addis Ketema Sub city, Addis Ababa

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Addis Ababa University


The study was conducted in Addis Ababa, Addis Ketema subcity, Kebele 06/07, with the objective of showing the prevalence of mental distress in sponsored children, aged between 15 to 18 years, in Guenet Church Child Sponsorship project during April 2008. The selF reporting questionnaire combined with socio-demographic questionnaire items were administered to 270 beneficiaries selected through systematic random sampling technique. The questionnaire was completed, filtered and the data of 248 children were analysed through percentage and analysis of variance, and reported in this study. As a result, 48.8% of the participants had scored above the cut off point and showed symptoms of mental distress. The prevalence of mental distress was also assessed in relation to socio-demographic variables and it was notified that the mental distress was higher in female than male respondents, in orphaned than non-orphaned children as well as in respondents from large family sizes and with hearing and mobility problems. Moreover, the prevalence of mental distress was found highest among children who never attend religious services and whose educational level was lowest. The mean score obtained across selected socio-demographic variables were analysed and significant differences were observed across all variables. Based on the findings of this study, project holders and staff are suggested to study the impact of mental distress, work on the underlying causes of mental distress with health professionals and counsellors, and gwe special attention and psychosocial support to orphaned children, children with large family size, children with visible physical impairment! disability and lowest level of education and revise a strategy to utilize religious services as resources to support children with mental distress