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Prevalence and correlates of mental disorders among adolescents in Italy: the PrISMA study

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Alessandra Frigerio, Paola Rucci, Robert Goodman, Massimo Ammaniti, Ombretta Carlet, Pina Cavolina, Giovanni De Girolamo, Carlo Lenti, Loredana Lucarelli, Elisa Mani, Andrea Martinuzzi, Nadia Micali, Annarita Milone, Pierluigi Morosini, Filippo Muratori, Franco Nardocci, Valentina Pastore, Gabriella Polidori, Andrea Tullini, Laura Vanzin & 4 more Laura Villa, Mauro Walder, Alessandro Zuddas, Massimo Molteni

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217 - 226
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Issue number4
PublishedApr 2009

King's Authors


Background While in the last 5 years several studies have been conducted in Italy on the prevalence of mental disorders in adults, to date no epidemiological study has been targeted on mental disorders in adolescents. Method A two-phase study was conducted on 3,418 participants using the child behavior checklist/6-18 (CBCL) and the development and well-being assessment (DAWBA), a structured interview with verbatim reports reviewed by clinicians. Results The prevalence of CBCL caseness and DSM-IV disorders was 9.8% (CI 8.8-10.8%) and 8.2% (CI 4.2-12.3%), respectively. DSM-IV Emotional disorders were more frequently observed (6.5% CI 2.2-10.8%) than externalizing disorders (1.2% CI 0.2-2.3%). In girls, prevalence estimates increased significantly with age; furthermore, living with a single parent, low level of maternal education, and low family income were associated with a higher likelihood of suffering from emotional or behavioral problems. Conclusions Approximately one in ten adolescents has psychological problems. Teachers and clinicians should focus on boys and girls living with a single parent and/or in disadvantaged socioeconomic conditions.

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