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International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health

Editor-in-Chief: Merrick, Joav

Editorial Board: Birch, Diana ML / Blum, Robert W. / Greydanus, MD, Dr. HC (Athens), Donald E. / Hardoff, Daniel / Kerr, Mike / Levy, Howard B / Morad, Mohammed / Omar, Hatim A. / de Paul, Joaquin / Rydelius, Per-Anders / Shek, Daniel T.L. / Sher, Leo / Silber, Tomas J. / Towns, Susan / Urkin, Jacob / Verhofstadt-Deneve, Leni / Zeltzer, Lonnie / Tenenbaum, Ariel

CiteScore 2018: 0.79

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Volume 29, Issue 2


Comparison of parental socio-demographic factors in children and adolescents presenting with internalizing and externalizing disorders

Nazanin Alavi / Nasreen Roberts
  • Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Elizabeth DeGrace
  • Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
Published Online: 2015-09-29 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijamh-2015-0049



This study aimed to: (a) examine parental socio-demographic factors in children and adolescents referred to an outpatient service for internalizing and externalizing disorders, and (b) compare the demographic variables and diagnoses for the two diagnostic groups.


Parents of all children who were referred to the child and adolescent outpatient service were asked to participate. Following their informed consent, they completed a socio-demographic questionnaire for themselves and a Child Behaviour Checklist (CBCL) for their child. The CBCL scores and the diagnoses assigned by the psychiatrists were then recorded for each child. Diagnoses were classified as internalizing or externalizing based on the primary DSM-IV diagnosis assigned by the psychiatrists. Data for the two groups were compared for study variables using Pearson correlation, t-tests, one-way ANOVA and logistic regression.


Children who had externalizing disorders tended to live with unemployed single parents who had lower education levels and lived in rented or assisted housing. Children with internalizing problems tended to live in owned homes with employed parents. There was no significant association between age or gender for either group.


Previous literature has reported an association between low SES and more mental health problems; however, the relationship between different indicators of SES and diagnosis is not clear. Despite small numbers, our study revealed significant differences between the parental socio-demographic factors for externalizing compared with internalizing disorders.

Keywords: externalizing disorder; internalizing disorders; sociodemographic factors


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About the article

Corresponding author: Nazanin Alavi, Department of Psychiatry, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada, Phone: +(613-484-9694), Fax: +(613-548-5580), E-mail: Nazanin.alavi@queensu.ca

Received: 2015-05-24

Accepted: 2015-07-18

Published Online: 2015-09-29

Published in Print: 2017-04-01

Citation Information: International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health, Volume 29, Issue 2, 20150049, ISSN (Online) 2191-0278, ISSN (Print) 0334-0139, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijamh-2015-0049.

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