Preschool developmental concerns and adjustment in the early school years: evidence from a Scottish birth cohort.

Sim, F., Thompson, L. , Marryat, L., Law, J. and Wilson, P. (2019) Preschool developmental concerns and adjustment in the early school years: evidence from a Scottish birth cohort. Child: Care, Health and Development, 45(5), pp. 719-736. (doi: 10.1111/cch.12695) (PMID:31209912)

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Preschool language and behavioural difficulties impact on multiple domains of the child's early life and can endure into adulthood, predicting poor educational, social and health outcomes. Highlighting risk factors associated with poor outcomes following language and behavioural difficulties raised in early childhood may facilitate early identification and intervention. Data from the Growing Up in Scotland national birth cohort study were used. Language and behavioural difficulties were assessed at age four years using parent-reported language concerns and the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ). Measures of adjustment were collated into four key outcome domains; attitude to school life, language & general development, behaviour and general health at age six years. Both univariate and multivariate logistic regression models were fitted in order to explore independent associations between language & behavioural difficulties at age four and adjustment to life circumstances at age six, whilst controlling for other risk factors. Language difficulties at age four increased the odds of the child experiencing difficulty with language and general development, poorer health outcomes and behavioural difficulties at age six. Behavioural difficulties alone at age four were associated with increased odds of the child experiencing all of the aforementioned outcomes as well as difficulties in early school life. Lone parent family, low income and male gender were identified as risk factors for poorer outcomes in the domains measured. At age four, there was no additive effect found with the presence of behaviour difficulties on the relationship between language difficulties and language and developmental outcomes at six years. This paper demonstrates language and behavioural difficulties are associated with poor social, educational, health and behavioural outcomes. Taking seriously parent-reported concerns and identifying risk factors could limit negative outcomes for the child, their family and society.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:Scottish Chief Scientist Office, Grant/Award Number: MR/K023209/1; Medical Research Council, Grant/Award Number: MR/K023209/ 1; Farr Institute at Scotland, Grant/Award Number: MR/K007017/1.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Thompson, Dr Lucy and Law, Dr James and Sim, Dr Fiona and Wilson, Dr Philip and Marryat, Dr Louise
Authors: Sim, F., Thompson, L., Marryat, L., Law, J., and Wilson, P.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > Mental Health and Wellbeing
Journal Name:Child: Care, Health and Development
ISSN (Online):1365-2214
Published Online:17 June 2019
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 The Authors
First Published:First published in Child: Care, Health and Development 45(5):719-736
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
190658The Scottish eHealth Informatics Research Centre (E-HIRCs).Jill PellMedical Research Council (MRC)MR/K007017/1HW - Public Health