OBJECTIVE: To analyze risk and protective factors for mental health problems among adolescents. METHODS: Cross-sectional study with a random sample (N=327; attrition rate=6.9%) of sixth grade students from all public and private schools in the city of Barretos, Southeastern Brazil, conducted in 2004. The factors studied were: exposure to intrafamilial and urban violence, family socioeconomic level, sex, motherless household, participation in social activities (protective factor). All the independent risk and protective factors were included in the initial logistic regression model. Only the variable with a significance level of p<0.05 remained in the model. RESULTS: It was observed that exposure to violence was the only factor associated with mental health problems in the final logistic regression model (p=0.02, 95% CI: 1.12;4.22). In addition, adolescents exposed to intrafamilial violence were three times more likely to have problems than those exposed to urban violence (p=0.04; 95% CI: 1.03;7.55). CONCLUSIONS: Intrafamilial violence was associated with mental heath problems among adolescents studied and it could be more important than urban violence in medium-sized cities.
Adolescent; Mental Health; Violence; Risk Factors; Socioeconomic Factors; Cross-Sectional Studies