Psychopathology, traumatic life events, and coping skills among patients attending a primary-care adolescent clinic

Indian J Pediatr. 2012 Jan:79 Suppl 1:S52-9. doi: 10.1007/s12098-011-0437-6. Epub 2011 Jun 1.


Objective: To compare the type of life events experienced and coping styles used by adolescents with and without psychopathology, attending a primary-care adolescent clinic.

Methods: One hundred adolescents with and without psychopathology attending a drop-in adolescent clinic in a tertiary-care teaching hospital were recruited. Face-to-face interview used Child Behaviour Checklist, Life Event Scale, Coddington's life event scale, Impact of Event Scale and Modified Jalowiec coping scale as measures after getting written, informed consent from the primary care-giver and verbal assent from the adolescents. Bivariate and multivariate comparisons were done between the groups appropriately.

Results: Adolescents with psychopathology had experienced more parental fights, increased arguments with parents, increased arguments between parents, serious illness requiring hospitalization of the adolescent. The intrusive symptoms of PTSD were noted more than avoidant symptoms among those adolescents with life events. Confrontative, emotive and optimistic coping styles were most often used in adolescent with psychopathology.

Conclusions: In India, adolescents with psychopathology attending a primary care clinic have significant life events and different coping styles. Therefore, adolescents with psychopathology in this setting should be screened for life events as well as dysfunctional coping styles and given appropriate intervention.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Health Services*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / psychology*
  • Outpatient Clinics, Hospital
  • Primary Health Care
  • Psychology, Adolescent*
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology