AIM: To determine the neighbourhood factors influencing the prevalence of abnormal mental health status among adolescents in an urban population.
METHOD: A cross-sectional study was conducted among adolescents aged 13, 14 and 16 years old from thirteen secondary schools in Kuala Lumpur using validated questionnaires. A total of 567 adolescents participated in this study.
RESULTS: The prevalence of abnormal mental health status in this study was 4.4%. In multivariable analysis, female (OR = 1.79, 95%CI: 1.11-2.89), having divorced parents (OR = 3.53, 95%CI: 1.96-6.36), high educational stress (OR = 8.18, 95%CI: 4.25-15.75), medium educational stress (OR = 2.99, 95%CI: 1.53-5.83), whose house has been broken in before (OR = 2.02, 95%CI: 1.11-3.68) and living in a neighbourhood with low socioeconomic status (OR = 2.09, 95%CI: 1.23-3.56) were more likely to have abnormal mental health status.
CONCLUSIONS: Neighbourhood factors were found to be significant in determining adolescents' mental health status. The findings emphasize the importance of those in the public health sector to highlight these significant neighbourhood factors to the Ministry of Housing and Local Government. Swift action needs to be taken by the Ministry to provide solutions related to the neighbourhood factors and this can contribute to improvement in the adolescents' mental health.