Prevalence of depression symptoms amongst orphaned adolescents at secondary schools in townships of South Africa

Thembi V. Khoza*, Mathildah M. Mokgatle

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Depression among orphans is a matter of concern due to its impairing effect on functioning and emotions. This study determined the prevalence of depression symptoms and the extent of emotional and functional problems among orphaned adolescents in secondary schools. Methods: A cross-sectional descriptive observational design using a Children’s Depression Inventory 2 (CDI 2) test was conducted. The CDI 2 was used to measure the prevalence of depression symptoms among 301 orphaned adolescents. The CDI 2 T-scores of more than 65 indicated the presence of depression symptoms. Among 301 participants aged between 13 and 17 years old, 176 (58.4%) were females, 61% (n = 184) were double orphans, and 39% (n = 117) were maternal orphans. Results: The prevalence of depression symptoms was 21%, with 63 (20.9%) having elevated emotional problems, 77 (25.5%), elevated functional problems, 9.9% (n=30) very low self-esteem and 90% (n = 271) no self-esteem problems. Elevated negative mood was 20.6% (n = 26), 14.6% (n = 44) had an elevated level of ineffectiveness and 32.5% (n = 98) had elevated interpersonal problems. Conclusion: The results of this study preclude any conclusions about the comparison of common characteristics between orphaned and non-orphaned adolescents. The standardised tool used narrowed the number of participants of interest due to the cut-off age.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)324-331
Number of pages8
JournalOpen Public Health Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Depression symptom
  • Emotional problems
  • Functional problems
  • Maternal orphans
  • Non-orphaned adolescents
  • Orphaned adolescent


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