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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 31  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 156-162

Violence and mental health among adolescents in South East Nigeria

1 Department of Paediatrics, University of Nigeria Enugu Campus, Enugu, Nigeria
2 Department of Health Administration and Management, University of Nigeria Enugu Campus, Enugu, Nigeria
3 Department of Community Medicine, University of Nigeria Enugu Campus, Enugu, Nigeria
4 Nuffield Centre for International Health and Development, Leeds Institute for Health Sciences, University of Leeds, United Kingdom
5 Department of Emergency Medicine, University Hospital of North Midlands, Stoke-on-Trent, United Kingdom
6 Department of Psychiatry, Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Vivian Ozoemena Onukwuli
Department of Paediatrics, College of Medicine, University of Nigeria Ituku/Ozalla Enugu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/NJM.NJM_133_21

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Background: There is a rise in the prevalence of mental illness among adolescents and the impact of violence on this rising trend requires to be evaluated. Aim: The aim of the study is to better understand the impact of violence on adolescent's mental health. Materials and Methods: The study was a cross-sectional school-based study. Adolescents in the selected schools were interviewed using a structured questionnaire. Information on previous experience of violence, the action is taken, and the effect on them was collected. Data were entered and analyzed using SPSS. The level of significance was at P < 0.05. Results: A total of 716 adolescents were studied over a one month period. The prevalence of violence was 87%. About 57.2% of the violence occurred at home, 44.2% was carried out by relatives and 49.2% happened within the past six months. Sexual abuse was 10.2%. Among the adolescents that experienced violence, 58.7% suffered some form of mental illness. There was a significant difference between the action the adolescents took after the violent incident and the action that was considered appropriate for it (P = 0.00001). Female gender (P = 0.042), not living with parents (P = 0.015) and poverty (P = 0.00001) significantly correlate with adolescent violence. Conclusion: Violence is high among adolescents and associated with a high prevalence of mental illness. Interventional measures targeted at reducing violence by improving poverty alleviation programs that empower families to carter for their children should be implemented.

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