Emotional and behavioural problems in Swedish preschool children rated by preschool teachers

Gustafsson, B.M. et al. BMC Pediatrics | Published: 21 April 2017

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Background: There is a high risk that young children who show early signs of mental health problems develop symptoms in the same or overlapping areas some years later. The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) is widely used to screen externalizing and internalizing problems early in life. In Sweden 80–90% of all children aged 1–5 years go to preschool and preschool is thus an appropriate context for finding early signs of mental health problems among children.

 

Conclusions: The teacher version of the SDQ, for 2–4 year-olds, can be used as a screening instrument to identify early signs of emotional distress/behavioural problems in young children. Preschool teachers seem to be able to identify children with problematic behaviour with the use of SDQ at an early age. The development of behaviour over time differs for the different subscales of SDQ. The Swedish norms for SDQ are to a large extent, similar to findings from other European countries.

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