European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

, Volume 23, Issue 12, pp 1181–1188 | Cite as

Social withdrawal at 1 year is associated with emotional and behavioural problems at 3 and 5 years: the Eden mother-child cohort study

  • Antoine GuedeneyEmail author
  • Jean-Baptiste Pingault
  • Antoine Thorr
  • Beatrice Larroque
  • The EDEN Mother-Child Cohort Study Group
Original Contribution


The objective of the study was to examine how social withdrawal in infants aged 12 months predicted emotional and behavioural problems at ages 3 and 5 years. The sample included 1,586 infants from the French Eden Mother–Child Cohort Study who had a measure of social withdrawal with the Alarm Distress BaBy scale at age 1 year; among these children, emotional and behavioural difficulties were rated by mothers using the Strength and Difficulty Questionnaire (SDQ) at 3 years for 1,257 (79 %) children and at 5 years for 1,123 (72 %) children. Social withdrawal behaviour at age 1 year was significantly associated with the SDQ behavioural disorder scale at 3 years, independently of a host of familial and child temperament confounders. The association with the relational disorder, prosocial and total difficulty scales was close to significance at 3 years after taking into account familial and temperament confounders. Social withdrawal significantly predicted the three aforementioned scales when measured at 5 years. No significant predictivity of the emotional scale and hyperactivity scale was detected at any age. This study made with a large longitudinal sample confirms the negative effects on development of social withdrawal behaviour, shedding light on the unfolding of behavioural disorders and relational difficulties in children; this calls for early detection of sustained social withdrawal behaviour, as it seems to hamper emotional development.


Longitudinal study Social withdrawal behaviour Community sample Alarm Distress Baby Scale Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire SDQ Temperament Follow up at 3 and 5 years 



Alarm Distress Baby scale


Autistic Spectrum Disorder


Infant Characteristics Questionnaire


Emotionality Activity and Sociability scale


Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire


Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale



Thanks to Nina Burtchen, Columbia University, New York MD, PhD. and to Tim Greacen, PhD, Laboratoire de Recherches de Maison-Blanche, Paris, for editing help and to Monique Kaminsky and Barbara Heudé, INSERM Paris for help into analysing the data.

Conflict of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Antoine Guedeney
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jean-Baptiste Pingault
    • 2
  • Antoine Thorr
    • 3
    • 4
  • Beatrice Larroque
    • 3
    • 4
  • The EDEN Mother-Child Cohort Study Group
  1. 1.Hospital Bichat-Claude Bernard APHP, Inserm U669University Denis Diderot Paris 7ParisFrance
  2. 2.GRIP-Research Unit on Children’s Psychosocial Maladjustment, Sainte Justine hospitalUniversity of MontrealMontrealCanada
  3. 3.Inserm, UMRS 953UPMC University Paris 6ParisFrance
  4. 4.Unité d’épidémiologie et de recherche clinique, Hospital Beaujon, APHPClichyFrance

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