Early childhood precursors and school age correlates of different internalising problem trajectories among young children

Parkes, A. , Sweeting, H. and Wight, D. (2016) Early childhood precursors and school age correlates of different internalising problem trajectories among young children. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 44(7), pp. 1333-1346. (doi: 10.1007/s10802-015-0116-6) (PMID:26747450) (PMCID:PMC5007267)

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It is unclear why trajectories of internalising problems vary between groups of young children. This is the first attempt in the United Kingdom to identify and explain different trajectories of internalising problems from 46 to 94 months. Using both mother- and child-reported data from the large Growing Up in Scotland (GUS) birth cohort (N = 2901; male N = 1497, female N = 1404), we applied growth mixture modelling and multivariable multinomial regression models. Three trajectories were identified: low-stable, high-decreasing and medium-increasing. There were no gender differences in trajectory shape, membership, or importance of covariates. Children from both elevated trajectories shared several early risk factors (low income, poor maternal mental health, poor partner relationship, pre-school behaviour problems) and school-age covariates (low mother-child warmth and initial school maladjustment) and reported fewer supportive friendships at 94 months. However, there were also differences in covariates between the two elevated trajectories. Minority ethnic status and pre-school conduct problems were more strongly associated with the high-decreasing trajectory; and covariates measured after school entry (behaviour problems, mother-child conflict and school maladjustment) with the medium-increasing trajectory. This suggests a greater burden of early risk for the high-decreasing trajectory, and that children with moderate early problem levels were more vulnerable to influences after school transition. Our findings largely support the sparse existing international evidence and are strengthened by the use of child-reported data. They highlight the need to identify protective factors for children with moderate, as well as high, levels of internalising problems at pre-school age, but suggest different approaches may be required.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Wight, Professor Danny and Parkes, Dr Alison and Sweeting, Dr Helen
Authors: Parkes, A., Sweeting, H., and Wight, D.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > MRC/CSO SPHSU
Journal Name:Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology
ISSN (Online):1573-2835
Published Online:08 January 2016
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2016 The Authors
First Published:First published in Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 44(7):1333-1346
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a creative commons license

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
656641Children, Young People, Families and Health ProgrammeDaniel WightMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12017/9IHW - MRC/CSO SPHU
727631SPHSU Core Renewal: Relationships & Health Improvement Research ProgrammeLisa McDaidMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12017/11IHW - MRC/CSO SPHU
727641SPHSU Core Renewal: Setting and Health Improvement Research ProgrammeKathryn HuntMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12017/12IHW - MRC/CSO SPHU