Eman A Zaky1*, Eman M Fouda1, Enas S Nabih2,
Background: Second hand smoke (SHS) might affect mental health of children as many mental disorders have an onset in youth, a time when SHS exposure is high. Objectives: Investigation of the potential association of SHS exposure with children’s mental health disorders.
Methodology: Forty five SHS exposed Egyptian children were enrolled as group I; all of them had at least one smoking parent and or were exposed to environmental tobacco smoke while group II included thirty age and sex well matched controls, with neither history of parental smoking nor exposures to environmental tobacco smoke. For all studied children, complete history taking, thorough clinical examination, psychometric assessment using Pediatric Symptom Checklist (PSC), Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ), and IQ measurement were done. DSM IV TR criteria were used to confirm any suspected behavioral and or psychiatric disorder. Laboratory assessment of second hand smoke was carried out measuring urinary cotinine levels.
Results: SHS exposed children had significantly higher mean value of urinary cotinine level, total PSC, and SDQ scores compared to controls (p<0.001, p<0.001, p<0.05 respectively). Mean values of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), internalization, and externalization behaviors’ sub-scores of PSC were significantly higher in SHS children compared to controls. Meanwhile, mean values of emotion, conduct, ADHD, and peer problem SDQ subscores were higher in SHS children compared to controls but the comparison was only statistically significant for ADHD sub-score while prosocial problem sub-score was significantly lower in SHS children compared to controls. In studied SHS children, degree of smoking significantly positively correlated with PSC internalization behavior subscore and emotion subscore of SDQ while smoking index significantly positively correlated with ADHD subscore of SDQ. Meanwhile, prosocial subscore of SDQ and urinary cotinine level were significantly negatively correlated. In conclusion, SHS exposure significantly compromised mental health of the studied sample of Egyptian SHS exposed children.