Background: The main source of information about children's masturbation is more on the basis of case reports. Due to the lack of consistent and accurate information. 

Objective: This study aimed to determine prevalence and underlying factors of masturbation and its comorbidity with psychiatric disorders in children.

Methods: In this descriptive-analytical study, among the children referred to the Pediatrics Clinic of Psychiatric Ward, Golestan Hospital, Ahvaz, Southwest Iran, 98 children were selected by convenience sampling in 2014.  Disorders were diagnosed by clinical interview based on the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Psychiatric Disorders (DSM-IV) and the Child Symptom Inventory-4 (CSI-4). We also used a questionnaire, containing demographic information about the patient and their family and also other data. Data was analyzed using descriptive statistics and chi-square test with SPSS software version 16. 

Results: Of the children who participated in this study (most of whom were boys), 31.6% suffered from masturbation. The phobias (p=0.002), separation anxiety disorder (p=0.044), generalized anxiety disorder (p=0.037), motor tics (p=0.033), stress disorder (p=0.005), oppositional defiant disorder (p=0.044), thumb sucking (p=0.000) and conduct disorder (p=0.001) were associated with masturbation.

Conclusion: Masturbation was common in children referred to psychiatric clinic, and may be more associated with oppositional defiant disorder, or conduct disorder, some anxiety disorders, motor tics and other stereotypical behavior. Authors recommended more probing for psychiatric disorders in children with unusual sexual behavior.


Keywords: Masturbation; Child; Psychiatric disorders
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