, Volume 43, Issue 4, pp 305-310
Date: 04 Feb 2008

Recent trends in UK child and adolescent mental health

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Past studies have documented rising levels of conduct problems among UK adolescents in the last quarter of the twentieth century, and increased rates of emotional difficulties between the 1980s and 1990s.


We used parent, teacher and youth ratings from two large scale, nationally representative studies of 5–15 year-old carried out in 1999 and 2004 to assess whether these increases continued into the early years of the new millennium.


Ratings on most “problem” sub-scales remained stable or showed small declines over this period, and parent and teacher reports suggested small increases in levels of prosocial behaviours.


The upward trends in rates of UK child adjustment problems noted since the 1970s and 1980s may have plateaued, and possibly begun to be reversed.