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Prevalence and Associated Factors of Psychological Distress Among Secondary School Students in Mekelle City, Tigray Region, Ethiopia: Cross-Sectional Study

Authors Gebremedhin HT, Bifftu BB, Lebessa MT, Weldeyes AZ, Gebru TT, Petrucka P

Received 6 March 2020

Accepted for publication 13 May 2020

Published 22 May 2020 Volume 2020:13 Pages 473—480


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Mei-chun Cheung

Haftom Tesfay Gebremedhin,1 Berhanu Boru Bifftu,2 Mikiyas Tulu Lebessa,3 Aemro Zerihun Weldeyes,3 Tesfay Tsegay Gebru,4 Pammla Petrucka5,6

1Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine and Health Science, Adigrat University, Adigrat, Ethiopia; 2Department of Nursing, College of Medicine and Health Science, University of Gondar, Gondar, Ethiopia; 3Department of Psychiatry, Amanuel Mental Specialized Hospital, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; 4Department of Nursing, College of Medicine and Health Science, Adigrat University, Adigrat, Ethiopia; 5College of Nursing, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatchewan, Canada; 6Adjunct Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science and Technology, Arusha, Tanzania

Correspondence: Haftom Tesfay Gebremedhin
Tel +251914272630

Background: Psychological distress is defined as a state of emotional suffering characterized by the combination of symptoms of depression and anxiety. It is more prevalent in school adolescents than in the general population. There are no published studies that reflect the current status of psychological distress among Ethiopian school adolescents. So, this study aimed to determine the prevalence and associated factors of psychological distress among secondary students in Mekelle Town, North Ethiopia.
Methods: A school-based cross-sectional study was done among 782 from May 15 to June 15, 2018. Stratified multistage sampling procedure was used to select study subjects. Data were collected using a pretested and structured self-administered questionnaire. Psychological distress was assessed using Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K10). Binary logistic regression models were fitted to identify associated factors. Adjusted odds ratio with its 95% confidence interval was used to declare the statistical significance between psychological distress and associated factors.
Results: A total of 845 students were enrolled in the study, with a response rate of 92.54%. The mean age of the participants was 16.24 years (SD=± 1.17). Prevalence of psychological distress among the study participants was 34.9%. Being female [AOR = 2.30; 95% CI: (1.28, 4.12)], current alcohol use [AOR = 3.08; 95% CI: (1.64, 5.77)], physical fight [AOR = 2.99; 95% CI: (1.69– 5.28)], contact sexual abuse [AOR=2.37; 95% CI: (1.23, 4.55)], non-contact sexual abuse [AOR = 1.91; 95% CI: (1.04, 3.49)], and being bullied [AOR = 1.81; 95% CI: (1.03, 3.29)] were significantly associated with psychological distress.
Conclusion: The prevalence of psychological distress in this study was high. Therefore, it is recommended to strengthen the activities that help to reduce or ameliorate the major causes of psychological distress.

Keywords: psychological distress, adolescent students, depression, anxiety

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