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Revista de Saúde Pública

versão impressa ISSN 0034-8910versão On-line ISSN 1518-8787


FERRIOLLI, Silvia Helena Tortul; MARTURANO, Edna Maria  e  PUNTEL, Ludmila Palucci. Family context and child mental health problems in the Family Health Program. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 2007, vol.41, n.2, pp.251-259.  Epub 15-Fev-2007. ISSN 1518-8787.

OBJECTIVE: To assess the association between variables in the family context and the risk for emotional/behavioral problems in children enrolled in a Family Health Program. METHODS: A cross-sectional design study was conducted with 100 children aged 6 to 12 years old and their families, especially their biological mothers (82%). All subjects were enrolled in center of the Family Health Program in the city of Ribeirão Preto, Southern Brazil, in 2001. Emotional/behavioral problems of the child, in levels considered as at risk for the development of disorders, were identified by means of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire. Regarding conditions in the family context, the following variables were evaluated: socioeconomic level, adverse events, maternal stress, maternal depressive symptoms, organization, and structure of family environment. Data analysis was performed through univariate and multivariate logistic regression. RESULTS: Maternal stress was associated with general mental health problems in the child (OR=2.2), while a daily routine with an organized timetable and greater range of activities to fill up their free time were associated with the absence of these problems (1/OR 1.3 and 1.9, respectively). Maternal stress was also a risk factor for anxiety/depression symptoms (OR=1.6). Regarding hyperactivity, financial instability was a risk factor (OR=2.1), and all indicators of environmental stability were protective variables (1/OR between 1.2 and 1.6). CONCLUSIONS: Information about family context indicators associated with mental health problems in schoolchildren may subsidize actions of the Family Health Program teams for the child and his/her family. The results indicate a possible employment of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire by the teams, in order to identify early problems in child mental health.

Palavras-chave : Family Health Program; Child psychiatry; Mental health; Family characteristics; Risk factors; Primary health care; Cross-sectional studies.

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