Behavioral and emotional problems of Algerian children and adolescents as reported by parents

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Abstract

Objective

To determine the level of behavioral and emotional problems among a sample of Algerian children and adolescents aged 6-18 years living in Algiers.

Methods

A school-based sample of 1,405 children and adolescents was recruited; problems were assessed with the Child Behavior Checklist filled out by parents or surrogates.

Results

The scores varied with age, gender, and socioeconomic status (SES). Contrary to findings in other samples, most Problem scores increased with age. As found in many other cultures, girls scored higher than boys on the Internalizing scales, but lower on Externalizing scales. Youths from lower socioeconomic families tended to score higher on some Problem scales. But, above all, Algerian children and adolescents had raw scores on all Problem scales much higher than those yielded by most previous cross-cultural studies.

Conclusions

The high level of problems may be attributable to traumatic environmental factors (terrorism and natural catastrophes), but the lack of data from countries that have similar geographic and cultural environments makes it hard to exclude explanations based on cultural factors.

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