Purpose: The purpose of the present study was to estimate the prevalence of probable mental health problems in an epidemiologic study of Vietnamese adolescents. A secondary aim was to examine the correlates of probable mental health caseness.
Methods: Interviewers visited 1,914 households that were randomly selected to participate in a multi-agency study of mental health in select provinces of Vietnam. Semi-structured interviews assessed adolescent mental health problems using the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) parent informant version, and additionally the interviewers collected information on demographic variables (age, gender, ethnic group, religious affiliation, social capital). The final sample included data on 1,368 adolescents (aged 11-18 years).
Results: The average score on the total problem composite of the SDQ scale was 6.66 (SD=4.89), and 9.1% of the sample was considered a case (n=124). Bivariate analyses were conducted to determine which demographic variables were related to the SDQ case/non-case score. All variables except gender were significant in bivariate analyses, and therefore were entered into a logistic regression. Results indicated that age, religion, and wealth remained significant predictors of probable caseness.
Conclusions: Overall, prevalence estimates of mental health problems generated by the SDQ were consistent with those reported in the US and other Western and non-Western samples. Results of the current study suggest some concordance of risk and protective factors between Western and Vietnamese youth (i.e., age and SES).