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Table of Contents
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 63-66

Parents' and teachers' perceptions of emotional and behavioral problems in school-going adolescents

Department of Social Work, School of Social Sciences, Mizoram University, Aizawl, Mizoram, India

Date of Submission20-Sep-2021
Date of Acceptance11-Jan-2022
Date of Web Publication30-Jun-2022

Correspondence Address:
U Harikrishnan
Department of Social Work, School of Social Sciences, Mizoram University, Aizawl, Mizoram
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijcfm.ijcfm_73_21

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Introduction: Parents and teachers are the primary consultants to understand the emotional and behavioral problems of school-going adolescents. The current study focuses on parents' and class teachers' perspectives of school-going adolescents' emotional and behavioral problems.
Material and Methods: A Cross-sectional questionnaire-based study was conducted among 19 schools from government-private and rural-urban schools across Kollam District, Kerala. Malayalam/English version of the strength and difficulties questionnaire was administered among a sample of 600 parents and 60 class teachers of school-going adolescents.
Results: Multiple linear regression analysis showed that parents' reports is significantly predicted by gender (P < 0.01), urban-rural settings (P < 0.001) and socioeconomic status (P < 0.01). Teachers' reports have significantly been predicted by urban-rural settings (P < 0.01) and socioeconomic status (P < 0.001).
Conclusion: More attention is needed for the protection of adolescent's mental health and fills mental health gaps in services.

Keywords: Emotional and behavioral problems, parents' and teachers' perception, school-going adolescents

How to cite this article:
Harikrishnan U, Sailo GL. Parents' and teachers' perceptions of emotional and behavioral problems in school-going adolescents. Indian J Community Fam Med 2022;8:63-6

How to cite this URL:
Harikrishnan U, Sailo GL. Parents' and teachers' perceptions of emotional and behavioral problems in school-going adolescents. Indian J Community Fam Med [serial online] 2022 [cited 2022 Nov 27];8:63-6. Available from: https://www.ijcfm.org/text.asp?2022/8/1/63/349388

  Introduction Top

Mental health is the ability to cope with stress, work productively and is an essential component of health.[1] A meta-analysis of epidemiological studies on child and adolescent psychiatric disorders in India found that the prevalence rate was 6.46% in the community and 23.33% in school.[2] A wide variety of mental health problems prevail among adolescents such as conduct problems, psychological distress, substance use, anti-social behaviour. All of these problems have been found to depend on sociodemographic factors.[3] Emotional problems such as anxiety, depressed mood, and behavior problems such as conduct problems, hyperactivity, and peer-related problems may lead to disturbance in personal, family, school, and social activities.[4] Epidemiological studies have found several emotional and behavior problems among adolescents in India.[5],[6],[7]

Emotional and behavioral problems cannot be understood from adolescents' self-reported status alone; therefore, it becomes imperative to take into account the perspective of parents and teachers on emotional and behavioral problems of school-going adolescents. The objectives of the study were to assess parents and teachers perception of emotional and behavioral problems among school going adolescents with regards to socio-demographic factors including type of school area.

  Material and Methods Top

A cross-sectional study with multistage sampling method was conducted. The sample size was 600 parents of school-going adolescents and 60 class teachers from 19 schools in Kollam District, Kerala.[8] The study collected data about socio-demographic details, emotional and behavioural problems of the adolescents using Strength & Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ)[9] for 4-17 years and 18 years & above age groups. The current study used only the Malayalam/English version of the parents and teachers SDQ report and it was a validated.[10] There were 25 items comprised of 5 scales of 5 items each and the scales consisted of emotional problems, conduct problems, hyperactivity, peer problems, and pro-social behavior. The item score is zero = “not true,” one = “somewhat true” and two = “certainly true” and there were items like 7, 11, 14, and 25 which had a reverse scoring pattern. The current study scoring was based on the original three-band categorization (normal, borderline, and abnormal). The parent report total score ranges are normal (≤13), borderline (14–16), and abnormal (17–40), whereas the teacher report total score range is normal (≤11), borderline (12–15), and abnormal (16–40). The data collection began by taking written permission from each school authority followed by written consent from parents and teachers during the period, July to October 2019. The study was undertaken with the approval of the Academic Council of Mizoram University. The statistical analysis was done with independent t-test, multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA), and multiple linear regression.

  Results and Discussion Top

Overall SDQ score on parents' report found that 12.5% of school-going adolescents had abnormality, whereas in teachers' reports it was 14.3%. Gender comparison on parents' reports of SDQ total score shows a highly significant contribution in each scale-emotional problems, conduct problems, hyperactivity, peer problems, and overall. The teachers' reports revealed a significant comparison with emotional problems and highly significant with hyperactivity while the rest of the scales has no significant comparison [Table 1].
Table 1: Parents' and teachers' perceptions on emotional and behavioural problems compared with gender

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[Table 2] depicts multivariate test result of one-way MANOVA which shows statistically significant differences in emotional and behavioral problems (SDQ total score) of school-going adolescents based on school area (government-urban, government-rural, private-urban, and private-rural), F = 13.85, P < 0.0005; Wilk's Λ = 0.874, partial η2 = 0.07. The tests of between-subject effects found that school area has a statistically significant effect on both parental perceptions on SDQ total score (F = 14.57; P < 0.0005; partial η2 = 0.07) and teachers' perception on SDQ total score (F = 14.14; P < 0.0005; partial η2 = 0.07).
Table 2: One-way MANOVA analysis on emotional and behaviour problems of school going adolescents with school-area

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Multiple linear regression analysis was made for the association of parental and teacher SDQ total scores with gender, urban-rural settings, and socioeconomic status. The results show parents' report of overall difficulties in SDQ is significantly predicted with gender, urban-rural settings, and socioeconomic status. Teachers' reports of overall difficulties in SDQ are significantly predicted with urban-rural settings and socioeconomic status whereas gender has no significant prediction [Table 3].
Table 3: Multiple linear regression analysis – total Strength and Difficulties Questionnaire score of parents' and teachers' reports

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Parents' and teachers' reports on emotional and behavioral problems of school adolescents found prevalence rate were higher than one-tenth of the total sample in the study. Epidemiological study on mental health disorders of children and adolescents in Asia found the general prevalence to be in the range of 10%–20%.[11] Teachers' reports in another study stated that adolescents had emotional and behavioral disorders due to less monitoring and poor interactions.[12]

According to the parents' report, significant gender association was found with all SDQ domains, whereas teachers' report in the current study shows significant gender association only with emotional problems and hyperactivity. Psychological distress such as depression and anxiety is seen more among girls than boys.[13] Conduct problems are mostly seen among boys and increases in middle adolescence.[14] A study found that the attention deficit hyperactivity disorder prevalence rate is higher among female than male adolescents.[15] The current multivariate analysis found a significant difference between emotional and behavioral problems in the school area. A multiple linear regression analysis found an association between socio demography and mental health among children.[16]

The limitation of the study is that it is a cross-sectional study; results were based on a single scale and does not incorporate sociodemographic details of parents and teachers. The strength of the current study is a large sample size, it covers rural/urban and government/private schools.

  Conclusion Top

The teachers and parents reports found some level of emotional and behavioral problems of school-going adolescents. Adolescents need proper concern and psychosocial care and support for their present and future development.


We acknowledge all the respondents.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

World Health Organization. Mental Health: Strengthening our Response. Geneva: WHO; 2017. Available from: https://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/mental-health-strengthening-our-response. [Last accessed on 2020 Aug 22].  Back to cited text no. 1
Malhotra S, Patra BN. Prevalence of child and adolescent psychiatric disorders in India: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Child Adolesc Psychiatry Ment Health 2014;8:22.  Back to cited text no. 2
Magai DN, Malik JA, Koot HM. Emotional and behavioral problems in children and adolescents in central Kenya. Child Psychiatry Hum Dev 2018;49:659-71.  Back to cited text no. 3
Meilstrup C, Ersbøll AK, Nielsen L, Koushede V, Bendtsen P, Due P, et al. Emotional symptoms among adolescents: Epidemiological analysis of individual-, classroom- and school-level factors. Eur J Public Health 2015;25:644-9.  Back to cited text no. 4
Harikrishnan U, Arif A, Sobhana H. Assessment of mental health status among school going adolescents in North East India: A cross sectional school based survey. Asian J Psychiatr 2017;30:114-7.  Back to cited text no. 5
Harikrishnan U, Sailo GL. Prevalence of emotional and behavioral problems among school-going adolescents: A cross-sectional study. Indian J Community Med 2021;46:232-5.  Back to cited text no. 6
  [Full text]  
Nair S, Ganjiwale J, Kharod N, Varma J, Nimbalkar SM. Epidemiological survey of mental health in adolescent school children of Gujarat, India. BMJ Paediatr Open 2017;1:e000139.  Back to cited text no. 7
Jayasinghe A. Child mental health problems in Hambantota District Sri Lanka. World Health Organization Sri Lanka; 2010. p. 1-101.  Back to cited text no. 8
Goodman R. The strengths and difficulties questionnaire: A research note. J Child Psychol Psychiatry 1997;38:581-6.  Back to cited text no. 9
Youthinmind. Strength and difficulties questionnaire Malayalam version. Last modified 26 Jan 2020. Available from: https://www.sdqinfo.org/py/sdqinfo/ b3.py?language=Malayalam [Last accessed on 2020 Aug 05].  Back to cited text no. 10
Srinath S, Kandasamy P, Golhar TS. Epidemiology of child and adolescent mental health disorders in Asia. Curr Opin Psychiatry 2010;23:330-6.  Back to cited text no. 11
Green JG, Keenan JK, Guzmán J, Vinnes S, Holt M, Comer JS. Teacher perspectives on indicators of adolescent social and emotional problems. Evid Based Pract Child Adolesc Ment Health 2017;2:96-110.  Back to cited text no. 12
Wiklund M, Malmgren-Olsson EB, Ohman A, Bergström E, Fjellman-Wiklund A. Subjective health complaints in older adolescents are related to perceived stress, anxiety and gender – A cross-sectional school study in Northern Sweden. BMC Public Health 2012;12:993.  Back to cited text no. 13
Erskine HE, Ferrari AJ, Nelson P, Polanczyk GV, Flaxman AD, Vos T, et al. Research review: Epidemiological modelling of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and conduct disorder for the global burden of disease study 2010. J Child Psychol Psychiatry 2013;54:1263-74.  Back to cited text no. 14
Ramtekkar UP, Reiersen AM, Todorov AA, Todd RD. Sex and age differences in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder symptoms and diagnoses: Implications for DSM-V and ICD-11. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 2010;49:217-28.e1.  Back to cited text no. 15
Chen N, Pei Y, Lin X, Wang J, Bu X, Liu K. Mental health status compared among rural-to-urban migrant, urban and rural school-age children in guangdong province, China. BMC Psychiatry 2019;19:383.  Back to cited text no. 16


  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3]


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