Mental Illness among Children Working on the Streets Compared with School Children in Duhok


Child labor is a gradually increasing phenomenon across the world. Children working on the streets are vulnerable to a variety of mental and non-mental illnesses. Due to the scarcity of the research on the health impacts of this phenomenon on these children, this study investigates the risks of mental illnesses and school performance among children working on the streets. A comparative study was conducted from December 16, 2006 to June 10, 2007. The study included 120 boys working on the streets and a comparable sample of non-working boys from primary schools. A modified Family Map was used to collect data on the socio-demographic characteristics. The Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Interview for Children and Adolescence tool was utilized to identify the presence of mental illnesses. The findings show that children working on the streets are five times more likely to be depressed and four times more likely to be anxious than school children. No significant differences are found between the two groups concerning suicide, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, conduct disorder, tic disorder or school performance. Children working on the streets are more likely to have one or more mental illnesses than the comparable sample of boys attending school regularly. More research is needed to address pathogenesis of mental illnesses as well as resilience of vulnerable children living in a difficult environment.

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Taib, N. and Ahmad, A. (2015) Mental Illness among Children Working on the Streets Compared with School Children in Duhok. Psychology, 6, 1421-1426. doi: 10.4236/psych.2015.612138.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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