Muslim adolescent mental health in Australia: a cross-cultural comparison of the risk of developing clinically significant psychological problems

Rony Kayrouz*, Eyal Karin, Carawan Ghanem, Nafisa Choudhury, Ahmad Malas

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    1 Citation (Scopus)
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    Abstract

    This study explores the risk of developing clinically significant social, emotional, and behavioural problems among Muslim adolescents living in Australia compared to the general adolescent population living in Australia. A descriptive, cross-sectional, and exploratory survey of 12–17-year-old students across three Islamic schools in New South Wales was conducted. The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) was used to measure the risk of developing clinically significant social, emotional, and behavioural problems. Six hundred and thirty-two students (261 males, 371 females), at a response rate of 48%, were recruited via collaborations with three Islamic schools, and children were invited to participate if their parents did not object in writing to their child’s participation. Overall, when compared to the general adolescent community sample, Muslim adolescents did not report a significantly higher proportion in the top 10% (i.e., abnormal range) for total difficulties, emotional problems, conduct problems, and peer problems, but did report a significant difference for hyperactivity/inattention problems (18.4% vs. 13.8%). Furthermore, Muslim adolescents (29.0% vs. 23.7%) reported a significantly higher proportion of scores in the top 20% (i.e., borderline range). These differences were explained by Muslim females aged 11–15 years higher hyperactivity (15.1% vs. 11.4%) and total difficulties (31.8% vs. 24%), as younger males and older males and older females showed no difference on any scale. Specifically, Muslim females aged 11–15 years reported a significantly higher proportion of scores in the abnormal ranges for total difficulties (14.3% vs. 9.8%), emotional problems (17.6% vs. 12.6%), and conduct problems (11.2% vs. 7.5%) and marginally for hyperactivity. Muslim females aged 11–15 years may demonstrate higher rates of clinically significant problems and are at a substantial higher risk of developing clinically significant emotional and conduct problems when compared to their age-related female adolescent peers. A review of the current child and adolescent mental health and community services is required to determine if this risk to Muslim females aged 11–15 years in Australia is being mitigated and their needs are being met.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2837-2848
    Number of pages12
    JournalJournal of Child and Family Studies
    Volume31
    Issue number10
    Early online date19 Feb 2022
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022

    Bibliographical note

    Copyright the Author(s) 2022. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.

    Keywords

    • Australia
    • Muslim youth
    • adolescent
    • mental health
    • school

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