Prevalence and correlates of mental disorders in Israeli adolescents: Results from a national mental health survey

Ilana Farbstein, Ivonne Mansbach-Kleinfeld, Daphna Levinson, Robert Goodman, Itzhak Levav, Itzik Vograft, Rasim Kanaaneh, Alexander M. Ponizovsky, David A. Brent, Alan Apter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


Background: The development of epidemiological instruments has enabled the assessment of mental disorders in youth in countries that plan policy according to evidence-based principles. The Israel Survey of Mental Health among Adolescents (ISMEHA) was conducted in 2004-2005 in a representative sample of 957 adolescents aged 14-17 and their mothers. Methods: The aims of this study were to estimate prevalence rates of internalizing and externalizing mental disorders and their socio-demographic and health correlates. Disorders were ascertained with the Development and Well-Being Assessment inventory and verified by child psychiatrists. Results: The prevalence rates were 11.7%, 8.1% and 4.8% for any disorder, internalizing disorders and externalizing disorders, respectively. Distinct risk factors were associated with the different types of disorders: internalizing disorders were associated with female gender, chronic medical conditions and being cared for by a welfare agency. Risk factors for externalizing disorders were male gender, having divorced or single parents, being an only child or having only one sibling. Learning disability was associated with both types of disorders. Conclusions: The risk and protective factors related to internalizing and externalizing disorders are interpreted within the framework of family composition in this multicultural society.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)630-639
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescents
  • Israel
  • Mental disorders
  • Prevalence
  • Risk factors


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