Influence of Family Environment on Childhood Emotional and Behavioural Disorders


Family Environment, Children, Emotional Disorders, Behavioural Disorders

BACKGROUND India has a large proportion of child and adolescent population. Psychiatric disorders are common among children and adolescents, but they are often underdiagnosed. Family environment influences psychopathology in young children. Identification of risk factors for child psychiatric disorders can lead to early identification of children at risk and facilitation of preventive interventions. METHODS The study was conducted among 103 children attending the Child Guidance Clinic (CGC) in a tertiary care institute in Kerala. A specially prepared proforma was used to obtain the sociodemographic profile and clinical variables. Global Family Environment Scale was used to assess the quality of family environment. ICD 10 classification of mental and behavioural disorders was used for making diagnosis, and Ravens Coloured Progressive Matrices was used for assessing intelligence. RESULTS Emotional disorders were seen more commonly in girls, and in older age group. Children with behavioural disorders were below average in academics and the difference between the groups was statistically significant. No statistically significant difference was found between the groups in socioeconomic status, locality, family type, family history of psychiatric illness, and in family environment. CONCLUSIONS Though there was no statistically significant difference, family history of psychiatric illness and poor and moderately unsatisfactory family environment was observed in a large proportion of children. This finding may have implication in management of childhood psychiatric disorders.