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Behavioural difficulties during early childhood have significant implications for multiple outcomes later in life. Child behavioural difficulties at 2 years of age (N = 6246) were assessed by mothers enrolled in a longitudinal, population-based New Zealand cohort study. 10.1% of children had total difficulties scores in the abnormal range on the preschool version of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire. After controlling for maternal education, poverty, and child’s birth age/weight, several antenatal and postnatal maternal health and family risk factors were significant for: (i) emotional problems (antenatal maternal perceived stress, lack of periconceptional folate, and moderate to severe maternal postnatal anxiety); (ii) hyperactivity-inattention (antenatal maternal perceived stress, mothers’ antenatal exposure to secondhand smoke, moderate to severe maternal postnatal anxiety, and low maternal self-evaluation); (iii) conduct problems and total difficulties (antenatal maternal perceived stress, verbal inter-parental conflict and low maternal self-evaluation). The identification of risk and protective factors associated with early childhood difficulties are vital for guiding intervention and prevention efforts.
Child Psychiatry and Human Development – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 2, 2018
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