Maternal Perception of Emotional Difficulties of Preschool Children in Rural Niger
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AbstractMental health care for infants and young children is often greatly limited in low-resource settings. The purpose of this study was to describe maternal perception of emotional difficulties of preschool children in a rural area of Niger (Maradi). In this context, both mental health awareness and services were scarce. This research was part of a larger cross-cultural validation study of a screening tool for psychological difficulties in children aged 3 to 6 years old. Data collection included group discussion and individual interviews. A total of 10 group interviews and 83 individual interviews were conducted. The results highlight mothers' perceptions concerning their children's psychological difficulties. Sleep difficulties were considered significant by the mothers and were used often as an entry point for further discussion of concerns. Peer and sibling relationships, separation anxiety, and reactions to difficult events were also described. Identification of mothers' perceptions of children's main difficulties through a mixed-method approach shows promise as a way to inform interventions to provide culturally appropriate care for children in need.