Child Psychiatry & Human Development

, Volume 44, Issue 4, pp 493–503 | Cite as

Prevalence of Emotional and Behavioral Symptoms and their Impact on Daily Life Activities in a Community Sample of 3 to 5-Year-Old Children

  • Sandra Fuchs
  • Annette M. Klein
  • Yvonne Otto
  • Kai von Klitzing
Original Article


The aim of the study was to evaluate prevalence and impact of behavioral/emotional symptoms in preschoolers. The sample comprised 1,738 preschoolers with an age range between 37 and 63 months. Parents rated children’s symptoms using the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) and the impact of perceived difficulties using the impact supplement of the SDQ. The prevalence of a total difficulties score in an abnormal/borderline range was 16.0 % that means lower than rates in schoolchildren. 8.6 % of the preschoolers were rated as symptomatic (borderline/abnormal) and their symptoms were rated as having some or considerable impact on their lives. Parents mostly reported problems of hyperactivity/inattention and their interference with learning abilities. All symptoms scales of the SDQ, except prosocial behavior, significantly explained impact of perceived difficulties. Parents of boys rated significantly higher levels of symptoms and impact. Low parental education was associated with more symptoms and higher impact.


Epidemiology Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire Preschool children Impact Gender differences 



We thank the participating parents and children, as well as the Public Health Department of the City of Leipzig, for cooperating in this study. This study was funded by the German Research Foundation (KL2315/1-1).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sandra Fuchs
    • 1
  • Annette M. Klein
    • 1
  • Yvonne Otto
    • 1
  • Kai von Klitzing
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and PsychosomaticsUniversity of LeipzigLeipzigGermany

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