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Following regain of the Taliban’s control in August 2021, there have been rapid social and political changes in Afghanistan. This study sought to examine current mental health among adolescents in Afghanistan. The authors hypothesized that being female and of younger age would be associated with poorer mental health.

Of the 376 participants, 28.2% were at substantial risk for psychiatric problems and approximately half of participants met criteria for probable PTSD , depression, or anxiety. Among girls, 47.5% were at substantial risk of having psychiatric problems (vs 13.9% of boys), and female sex was associated with a higher odds of having psychiatric problems, with more girls vs boys meeting criteria for probable diagnosis of common mental health disorders.

The paper concludes there is a need for mental health interventions that are tailored to the current political and social environment in Afghanistan. Furthermore, clinicians treating recently arrived adolescent refugees from Afghanistan must consider the emotional and behavioral presentations within the context of the political, historical, and social experiences of this population.

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