Analysis of risk and protective factors for psychosocial distress among in-school adolescents in Tanzania

Oxford University Press
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Public Health, 2021, 29, (4), pp. 765-773
Issue Date:
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Introduction: Psychosocial distress has emerged as one of the world’s major public health problems, especially among adolescents in both low- and middle-income countries. This study used data from the 2015 version of the Global School-Based Health Survey to determine the risk and protective factors for psychosocial distress among in-school adolescents in Tanzania. Materials and methods: Chi-square and logistic regression analyses were used to estimate the magnitude of associations. A total of 2936 students participated in the study, of which 52.3% were female. Results: Psychosocial distress was found in 16.9% of the students at similar rates for both males and females. The risk factors associated with psychosocial distress were hunger (OR = 1.57, p < 0.001), being bullied (OR = 1.92, p < 0.001), being attacked (OR = 1.31, p < 0.05), engaging in physical activity (OR = 1.33, p < 0.05), truancy (OR = 1.28, p < 0.05) and tobacco use (OR = 2.40, p < 0.01). However, the protective factors were grade (OR = 0.55, p < 0.01) and having one or two (OR = 0.56, p < 0.01) and three or more close friends (OR = 0.57, p < 0.01). Conclusions: The prevalence of psychosocial distress among adolescents in Tanzania is relatively high and appears to be common among both sexes. To reduce psychosocial distress among in-school adolescents, more attention needs to be paid to the risk factors whiles encouraging healthy relationships among adolescents and their close friends.
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