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Journal of Human Growth and Development

Print version ISSN 0104-1282On-line version ISSN 2175-3598


PAIANO, Marcelle et al. Behavioral disorders in elementary school children and their relationship with family structure. Rev. bras. crescimento desenvolv. hum. [online]. 2007, vol.17, n.2, pp. 111-121. ISSN 0104-1282.

The increase in behavioral disorders in children and adolescents is a factor of concern for health professionals. During the internship of nursing students in a public school, it was observed that 15 elementary students presented a medical diagnosis of mental disorder and/or were taking controlled medication. The present study aimed to characterize those students, and to identify the existence of risk factors for mental health problems, as well as their relationship with family structure and characteristics. The informers were 11 parents of students who agreed to participate in the study. Data were collected in June 2006, through a semi-structured interview that was conducted in the child's home. Results showed that the mental disorder is present in children/adolescents of both sexes and in different age groups. Most of the families were of a nuclear type and the average family income was of 3 to 5 minimum wages. The most frequent medical diagnosis was ADHD, 76% of the children presented family antecedents of mental disorder, 72% had difficulties at school, and a great number of them was exposed to humiliating situations. It was concluded that the characteristics of the studied families can be considered a risk factor for behavioral disorders, especially in relation to family antecedents and to inadequate educational practices. Further studies are needed on the theme in order to subsidize the elaboration of public policies of mental health.

Keywords : Mental health; Family; Child; School.

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