Victimization and Mental Health Problems of Children and Adolescents in Gondar Town, North Western Ethiopia

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Addis Ababa University


Victimization and mental health problems of children and adolescents are major concerns of almost all societies worldwide. Previous studies have documented the magnitudes of the problems of victimizations and mental health problems in children and adolescents. However, in most cases those studies focused on few types of victimization and mental health problems. Accordingly, the major purpose of this study was to estimate prevalence of victimizations and mental health problems, identify factors that contribute to victimizations, and examine the association between victimization and mental health problems of children and adolescents in the elementary schools of Gondar town, North West Ethiopia. Analysis was made on a sample of 403 children and adolescents, randomly drawn from the target population using stratified sampling technique. Adapted measures of Juvenile Victimization Questionnaire (JVQ) and Achenbach Systems of Empirically Based Assessment (ASEBA) were employed to gather data on victimization experiences and mental health problems respectively. Percentage was used to determine the prevalence of victimizations and mental health problems whereas series of logistic regression analyses were run to examine the contributions of independent victimizations for the various dimensions of mental health problems of the respondents. The major findings indicate that nearly 80 % of the respondents experienced victimizations. The odds of males experiencing victimization was found to be 2.41(95% CI=1.41-4.12) times more than females and the probability of the occurrence of any form of victimization was higher for those who came from low income families by 3.23 (95% CI =1.06-9.80) times than respondents from high income families. The proportion of overall mental health problems among the respondents was 14.4%. Child maltreatment was found to be significantly contributing to manifestations of the symptoms of overall mental health and internalizing problems with odds ratios of 2.6 (95% CI=1.16-4.39) and 2.52 (95% CI=1.42-4.49) respectively. Conventional crime was significantly linked with internalizing problems with OR=.2.95 (95% CI=1.37-6.34). Furthermore, poly-victimizations were significantly associated with any mental health,X 2 (1,N=403)=17.02, p<.001;internalizing, χ 2 (1,N=403)=17.46,p<.001; and externalizing problems, χ 2 (1,N=403)=11.36, p<.05.The study concludes that exposures to victimizations put children and adolescents at the risks of developing mental and behavioral health problems. Finally, psycho-legal service implications and issues that require further inquiry are identified



North western ethiopia