Emotional and Behavioral Problems in Children and Adolescents in Central Kenya

Dorcas N. Magai, Jamil A. Malik, Hans M. Koot*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Emotional and behavioral problems (EBP) during childhood and adolescence are a common concern for parents and mental health stakeholders. However, little has been documented about their prevalence in Kenyan children and adolescents. This study aimed to close this gap. The study included Child Behavior Checklist reports from 1022 Kenyan parents on their children (ages 6–18 years) and Youth Self-Reports from 533 adolescents (ages 12–18) living in Kenya’s Central Province. EBP in Kenya are highly prevalent compared to multi-cultural standards for parent reports, with 27 and 17% scoring in the borderline and clinical range, respectively. Based on parent reports, younger children scored higher on EBP than older children, and higher on internalizing problems. Based on self-reports girls scored higher than boys, particularly on internalizing problems. The study provides evidence on elevated parent-reported EBP in Kenyan youths. Mental health providers should focus on interventions that reduce EBP in Kenyan youths.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalChild Psychiatry and Human Development
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2018


  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Emotional/behavioral problems
  • Kenya


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