Regional Disparities in Psychiatric Distress, Violent Behavior, and Life Satisfaction in Iranian Adolescents: The CASPIAN-III Study

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Objectives:The purpose of this study was to assess the prevalence of violence behaviors, psychiatric distress, and life satisfaction among 10- to 18-year-old Iranian adolescents at national and regional disparities.Methods:In this national survey, 5570 students of age 10 to 18 years from urban and rural regions of 27 provinces of Iran were selected through stratified multistage sampling method. Violence behaviors, psychiatric distress, and life satisfaction were assessed by a questionnaire that was prepared based on WHO global school-based student health survey and the WHO-stepwise approach to noncommunicable diseases (Tools version 9.5). The country classification into 4 subnational regions was done based on combination of geography and socioeconomic status (SES). The data were analyzed by the SPSS software.Results:The prevalence of emotional, depressive, and anxiety problem among Iranian students was 17.7%, 16.3%, and 5.7%, respectively. The percentage of emotional and depressive problem differed significantly between different SES distress (p value <.001). The prevalence of bullying, victim, and physical fight was 27.1%, 32.7%, and 50.6% among students aged 10 to 18 years, respectively. Bullying and victim experience were linearly associated with regions' SES. Students who were living in the north-northeast region had maximum self-rated health and life satisfaction in Iran.Conclusions:The results declared that psychiatric distress was more frequent in high SES distress, whereas violence behavior was more frequent in the lowest SES distress. Therefore, in communities with large variations in health and SES in regional level, health policies for primordial and primary prevention of mental and behavioral distress have to be made at regional levels.

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