The intersection of adolescent depression and peer violence: baseline results from a randomized controlled trial of 1752 youth in Pakistan

Nargis Asad, Rozina Karmaliani, Judith McFarlane, Shireen Shehzad Bhamani, Yasmeen Somani, Esnat Chirwa, Rachel Jewkes

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17 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Depression and peer violence are global issues impacting youth. We are presenting baseline data as part of a cluster randomized control trial underway, on adolescent depression, and associated factors among boys and girls in schools. Method: Cluster randomized control trial is underway for measuring the effectiveness of school-based play intervention program of the NGO Right to Play, in a sample of 1752 grade 6 youth in 40 public schools of Hyderabad, Pakistan. Students responded to Child Depression Inventory (CDI-2), the Peer Victimization Scale (PVS), the Peer Perpetration Scale (PPS), and investigator-driven seven-item School Performance Scale. Results: We report baseline assessments to examine the prevalence of depressive symptoms, and associated occurrence of peer perpetration and victimization. Boys report significantly more depressive symptoms as well as perpetration and victimization compared to girls (p ≤.0001). Our analysis indicates that among boys, depression was found associated with greater age, food insecurity, poorer school performance and working for money, as well as being beaten at home and witnessing beating of their mother by their father or other relatives. Among girls, depression was associated with a younger age, greater food insecurity and poorer school performance. Depression was also associated with a great likelihood of engagement in peer violence, experience of punishment at home, and witnessing their father fighting with other men or beating their mother. Conclusions: Engagement in violent behaviors, exposure to violent acts and poverty surfaces as detrimental to mental health in youth age groups, suggesting strong measures to address youth violence, and poverty reduction for positive mental health outcomes in school age children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)232-241
Number of pages10
JournalChild and Adolescent Mental Health
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017


  • Pakistan
  • Peer violence
  • abuse
  • depression
  • youth


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