Child psychiatric symptoms in primary school
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Prevalence of behavioural and emotional problems in primary school children was examined 4 years after a baseline survey at preschool age. The scope of symptoms was investigated. Due to anonymity of data only group differences between the two measurements were reported.
A representative sample of 1,481 children in fourth year primary school was assessed with the Child Behaviour Checklist (CBCL). In addition to the CBCL broadband groups of internalizing (INT) and externalizing symptoms (EXT) a third group of combined internalizing and externalizing symptoms (COM) was defined.
The 6 month prevalence of child mental health problems at second wave was 18%—a significant increase on the previous baseline rate of 12.4%. Of those 18% of children with child mental health problems 27.3% had exclusively internalizing, 6.0% externalizing symptoms and 52.4% had combined symptoms of INT and EXT.
The increasing prevalence was associated with an increase of symptoms of the broadband groups INT and COM but not EXT. The results also highlight an age and gender specific vulnerability of boys, both at preschool and primary school.
Key wordschild epidemiology mental health preschool primary school
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