Emotional and behavioural difficulties among middle school students in Oman: An examination of prevalence rate and gender differences.


Children with emotional and behavioural difficulties (EBDs) began to receive considerable attention in several countries in the Middle East and North Africa region including Oman. In the Omani context, there is lack of valid assessment instruments which can be used to obtain information on EBDs in schools. The current study used the Arabic self-report version of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (A-SDQ) to examine EBDs in a sample of middle school students. 816 middle school students from both genders, who were randomly selected from different schools in two big cities in Oman, filled out the A-SDQ. Results provided initial evidence of good psychometric properties of the A-SDQ reflecting that it can be a valid tool for use in schools in Oman. Further, the participants reported moderate to high rates of EBDs as measured by the different subscales of the A-SDQ. Significant gender differences were found in students self-report of EBDs. Compared to boys, girls reported more emotional symptoms, less conduct and peer problems. Implications of the study findings for the identification of students with EBDs in schools in Oman are presented.