INTRODUCTION: The family plays the first and may be the most important role in the development of individuals' personality, health and function. The current study aimed to evaluate different aspects of violence against a sample of school girls of Iranian population and its effect on their mental health.
METHODS: A cluster, randomized sample consisting of 399 school girls was selected from all of the high schools in Tabriz city, northwest of Iran. Students were asked to participate in this study anonymously. Signs and symptoms of depression and anxiety were assessed by the General health questionnaire-28 (GHQ-28) measuring their social function and physical situation as well. Another inquiry form involving questions about different kinds of violence and neglect gathered information about their situation during the recent year.
RESULTS: The mean (SD) age of the students was 14.9 (0.8) and all were under 18. The mean (SD) total score of GHQ-28 was 24.18(13.61). The sub-threshold score in GHQ-28 (under 23) was observed in 44.1% of students which indicates considerable problems in mental health status. The type of reported violence was not significantly associated with an abnormal score of GHQ-28. A higher score of somatic symptoms was related to verbal violence at home by parents and the educational level of mother. High score on social dysfunction was predicted by lower educational level of mother. The depression scale was related to humility, neglect and discrimination at home. The factors were not predicting the score of anxiety or insomnia subscales.
DISCUSSION: The current study observed a noticeable amount of problems in the mental health of teenage girls in a sample of the Iranian population. The educational level of the mother plays an important role in the mental health of school girls.