Does Access to Green Space Impact the Mental Well-being of Children

An increasing body of research is showing associations between green space and overall health. Children are spending more time indoors while pediatric mental and behavioral health problems are increasing | Journal of Pediatric Nursing

germany-70567_960_720

A systematic review of the literature was done to examine the association between access to green space and the mental well-being of children.

Twelve articles relating to green space and the mental well-being of children were reviewed. Three articles outside the date criteria were included as they are cited often in the literature as important early research on this topic.

Access to green space was associated with improved mental well-being, overall health and cognitive development of children. It promotes attention restoration, memory, competence, supportive social groups, self-discipline, moderates stress, improves behaviors and symptoms of ADHD and was even associated with higher standardized test scores.

Full reference: McCormick, R. (2017) Does Access to Green Space Impact the Mental Well-being of Children: A Systematic Review. Journal of Pediatric Nursing. Published online: 4 September 2017

Advertisements

Causes of severe antisocial behavior may differ for boys and girls

The causes of severe antisocial behaviour may differ between boys and girls, which could pave the way for new sex-specific treatments, according to a major new study | ScienceDaily

boy-1854107_960_720.jpg

Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-techniques to map the brains of over 200 teenagers aged 14 — 18 years, researchers from the University of Bath (UK) and several other European universities conducted the most comprehensive study ever to analyse differences in brain development between children with conduct disorder (CD) and a group of typically-developing children (the control group).

Findings from the study, which involved 96 young people with CD and 104 typically-developing young people, are published today in the  Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

They show that the brain’s prefrontal cortex — the region responsible for long-term planning, decision-making, and impulse control — is thinner in boys and girls with CD compared to typically-developing boys and girls, and that young people with more severe forms of the condition have more abnormal brain structure.

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

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

child-1522870_960_720.jpg

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.

Read the full article here

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

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

balloons-1852499_960_720.png

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.

Read the full abstract and article here

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

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

emotion-1294360_960_720

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.

Read the full abstract and article here

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.

Read the abstract here

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

music-notes-1275621_960_720

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.

Read the full article here