Adolescents’ mental health and well-being in developing countries: A cross-sectional survey from Pakistan

Amna Khalid, Farah Qadir, Wing Chan, Matthias Schwannauer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Despite global recognition of the significance of adolescents’ mental health it remains a neglected area in research and health policy in Pakistan.

Aims: To examine the rates of depression and anxiety and to assess the level of well-being among Pakistani adolescents.

Methods: A cross-sectional sample of 1124 adolescents (age 11 – 18) was recruited from schools in Rawalpindi, Pakistan.

Results: 17.2% and 21.4% participants were identified to be probable cases of depression and anxiety respectively. The mean well-being score of the participants was 65.79 (S.D= 12.84). Girls were more anxious than boys. Depressive symptoms and well-being were significantly associated with age. Poor economic status, lower level of education and more negative life events were significantly associated with higher levels of depression and anxiety symptoms and poor well-being.

Conclusions: To our knowledge this is the first school based observational research exploring the rates of symptoms of depression and anxiety as well as well-being among 11-18 years old in Pakistan. This study concludes that mental health of Pakistani adolescents is an important area of public health concern and provides information for making policy level decisions regarding evaluation, prevention and intervention of mental health problems among adolescents in Pakistan.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Mental Health
Early online date19 Nov 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Nov 2018


  • mental health
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • well-being
  • adolescents
  • Pakistan


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