The present study aimed to evaluate the prevalence of psychiatric disorders in early adolescence, to examine the distribution of psychiatric disorders by maternal and child characteristics and to evaluate the occurrence of psychiatric comorbidities.
This was a prospective cohort study of all live births in the city of Pelotas, Brazil, in 2004 (n = 4231). A total of 3562 subjects were evaluated at 11 years of age. Psychiatric disorders were assessed using the Development and Well-Being Assessment. Crude and adjusted logistic regression was used to investigate risk factors for any psychiatric disorder.
According to DSM-5 criteria, the overall prevalence of psychiatric disorders was 13.2% (n = 471), 15.6% among the boys and 10.7% among the girls. The most common disorders were anxiety disorders (4.3%), any attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (4.0%) and any conduct/oppositional disorder (2.8%). Low maternal education, smoking during pregnancy, the presence of moods symptoms during pregnancy or maternal chronic and severe depressive symptoms in the first years of the adolescent´s life, male gender, 5-min Apgar score < 7 at birth and preterm birth were associated with higher odds of any psychiatric disorder at age 11. Psychiatric comorbidities were observed in 107 subjects (22.7%), of whom 73, 24, and 10 had two, three, and four psychiatric diagnoses, respectively.
Our results underscore the importance of psychiatric disorders as a prevalent condition in early adolescence, which has a direct impact on the planning of public policies and specific mental health care services in this age group.