Introduction: In Iran, after unintentional accidents, mental health problems are the second leading burden of disease. Consanguineous marriage is very common in Iran and the association between parental consanguinity and mental health is an important issue that has not yet been studied sufficiently in Iran.
Aim: To investigate the effect of consanguinity and the degree of relationship on different levels of mental health.
Materials and methods: In this cross-sectional study, conducted in the Shahrekord University of Medical Sciences, two groups of students were enrolled. The first group consisted of 156 students that had consanguineous parent (case group) and the second group was 156 students whose parents had non-blood relationship (control group). The students were evaluated using General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-28). Statistical analysis was conducted by Pearson's correlation coefficient, independent t-test and the one-way analysis of variance. Odd ratio was used to estimate the relative risk.
Results: Over 30% of the individuals were suffering from mental health problems. The most and least common mental health problems in both groups were social dysfunction (54.5% in the case group and the control group 50%) and depression (15.4% in the case group and 17.3% in the control group), respectively. No statistically significant difference was observed in the frequency of overall mental health and its subscales between student with non-consanguineous parent (control group) and the students that had consanguineous parent (case group) (p>0.05) and the status of mental health was not significantly different among student with different degree of kinship (p>0.05).
Conclusion: The study revealed that social dysfunction was very common among the study students and also there were no relationship between parental consanguineous marriage and mental health. Parental consanguinity and genetic factors may not be the major causes of high prevalence of mental health problems in Iran and the effects of the environmental factors on these problems may be greater than those of the inherited ones.
Keywords: Consanguinity; General health questionnaire; Social dysfunction.
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