The Prevalence of Internalizing and Externalizing Behavior Problems and Their Relationship with Demographic Characteristics in Children Surviving the 2017 Earthquake in West of Iran

Document Type: Original Article


1 Substance Abuse Prevention Research Center, Health Institute, Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences, Kermanshah, Iran

2 Psychological Department, Education and Psychology Faculty, Allameh Tabatabai University, Tehran, Iran



Background: Natural disasters may lead to personal and social dysfunction in children.
Objectives: The present study was conducted to determine the prevalence of behavioral problems and their relationship with demographic characteristics in children surviving the 2017 earthquake in western Iran.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional-analytical study. The statistical population included all children surviving the 2017 earthquake in western Iran. The sample size included 335 subjects selected by convenience sampling. The Achenbach Child Behavior Checklist (Parent Form) was the tool used to collect data and chi-square and Fisher’s exact tests were used to analyze the data.
Results: The rule breaking (5.3%) and somatic complaints (2.4%) were the most and least prevalent behavioral problems in children, respectively. General behavior problems (8.3%), internalizing behavior problems (7.4%), and externalizing behavior problems (7.1%) were the most prevalent, respectively. Gender had a significant statistical relationship with somatic complaints and attention problems; loss of home with rule breaking, internalizing behavior problems, and general behavior problems; the number of children in a family with anxiety; age of the father with social problems, aggression, internalizing and externalizing behavior problems; the father’s educational level with withdrawal; mother’s educational level with attention problems, aggression, externalizing behavior problems and general behavior problems; and economic status with aggression (p<0.05) were apparent.
Conclusion: Given the significant prevalence of behavioral and psychiatric disorders in children who survived the earthquake, identifying children at risk is important for the prevention, early diagnosis, and treatment of aforementioned problems in these children.