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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Exploring Nurses’, Preschool Teachers’ and Parents’ Perspectives on Information Sharing on Behavioural Problems

Fält, E. et al. PLOS One. Published online: January 11 2017

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Evidence-based methods to identify behavioural problems among children are not regularly used within the Swedish Child healthcare. A new procedure was therefore introduced to assess children through parent- and preschool teacher reports using the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ). This study aims to explore nurses’, preschool teachers’ and parents’ perspectives of this new information sharing model.

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Development and validation of brief scales to measure emotional and behavioural problems

Shen, M. et al. (2017) BMJ Open. 7:e012961

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Objectives: To develop and validate brief scales to measure common emotional and behavioural problems among adolescents in the examination-oriented education system and collectivistic culture of China.

 

Conclusions: Four brief scales were developed and validated among adolescents in middle schools of China. The scales have good psychometric properties with minor differential item functioning. They can be used in middle school settings, and will help school officials to assess the students’ emotional/behavioural problems.

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Developmental and behavioural associations of burns and scalds in children

Emond, A. et al. Archives of Disease in Childhood. Published Online: 13 November 2016

B0006880 Skin cells from a scald

Image source: Anne Weston, LRI, CRUK – Wellcome Images // CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Image shows skin cells from the blistered area of a scald.

Objective: To investigate child developmental and behavioural characteristics and risk of burns and scalds.

Design: Data on burns in children up to 11 years from 12 966 participants in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children were linked to developmental profiles measured before the burn injury.

Measures: Preinjury profiles of the children derived from maternal questionnaires completed in pregnancy, and at 6, 18, 42, 47 and 54 months. Injury data collected by questionnaire at 6, 15 and 24 months and 3.5, 4.5, 5.5, 6.5, 8.5 and 11 years of age.

Results: Incidence: Burn rates were as follows: birth–2 years 71.9/1000/year; 2–4.5 years 42.2/1000/year; 5–11 years 14.3/1000/year. Boys <2 years were more likely to sustain burns, and girls had more burns between age 5 and 11 years. Medical attention was sought for 11% of burn injuries. Development: Up to age 2 years, burns were more likely in children with the most advanced gross motor developmental scores and the slowest fine motor development. Children with coordination problems at 4.5 years of age had increased risk of burns between 5 and 11 years. No associations were observed with cognitive skills. Behaviour: At 3.5 years, the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire scores and reported frequent temper tantrums predicted subsequent burns in primary school age. After adjustment for confounders, burns in the preschool period were related to gender and motor development, and in school-aged children, to frequent temper tantrums, hyperactivity and coordination difficulties.

Conclusion: Child factors associated with increased risk of burns were male gender in infancy and female gender at school age, advanced gross motor development, coordination difficulties, hyperactivity and problems with emotional regulation.

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Music therapy for children and adolescents with behavioural and emotional problems

Porter, S. et al. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. Published online: 27 October 2016

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Background: Although music therapy (MT) is considered an effective intervention for young people with mental health needs, its efficacy in clinical settings is unclear. We therefore examined the efficacy of MT in clinical practice.

Methods: Two hundred and fifty-one child (8–16 years, with social, emotional, behavioural and developmental difficulties) and parent dyads from six Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service community care facilities in Northern Ireland were randomised to 12 weekly sessions of MT plus usual care [n = 123; 76 in final analyses] or usual care alone [n = 128; 105 in final analyses]. Follow-up occurred at 13 weeks and 26 weeks postrandomisation. Primary outcome was improvement in communication (Social Skills Improvement System Rating Scales) (SSIS) at 13 weeks. Secondary outcomes included social functioning, self-esteem, depression and family functioning.

Results: There was no significant difference for the child SSIS at week 13 (adjusted difference in mean 2.4; 95% CI −1.2 to 6.1; p = .19) or for the guardian SSIS (0.5; 95% CI −2.9 to 3.8; p = .78). However, for participants aged 13 and over in the intervention group, the child SSIS communication was significantly improved (6.1, 95% CI 1.6 to 10.5; p = .007) but not the guardian SSIS (1.1; 95% CI −2.9 to 5.2; p = .59). Overall, self-esteem was significantly improved and depression scores were significantly lower at week 13. There was no significant difference in family or social functioning at week 13.

Conclusions: While the findings provide some evidence for the integration of music therapy into clinical practice, differences relating to subgroups and secondary outcomes indicate the need for further study.

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