Pathways of behavioural and emotional symptoms in kindergarten children: what is the role of pro-social behaviour?
ABSTRACT The study investigated the predictive value of pro-social behaviour for developmental pathways of behavioural and emotional problems at kindergarten age. One hundred and sixty children participated in the study at the ages of 5 and 6. Teachers and parents completed the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire; children completed the Berkeley Puppet Interview at both assessment points. Single-informant data were aggregated to enhance the reliability and validity of data. Gender and parental educational status were controlled. Symptoms (conduct problems, hyperactivity and emotional symptoms) and pro-social behaviour were moderately stable over time. Compared to girls, boys showed higher levels and increases of conduct problems and hyperactivity and lower levels of pro-social behaviour. Lower parental educational level was associated with higher levels and increases in hyperactivity. Although pro-social behaviour was cross-sectionally associated with behavioural and emotional symptoms, pro-social behaviour did not predict changes in conduct problems or hyperactivity over time. However, children with above average emotional symptoms and above average pro-social behaviour at Age_5 showed the highest level of emotional symptoms at Age_6. The results indicate that low levels of pro-social behaviour are associated with children's externalising behaviour problems, but that for children with high levels of emotional symptoms, higher levels of pro-social behaviour should also be considered as a risk factor. In sum, our results suggest mainly homotypic pathways of internalising and externalising symptoms across kindergarten age, but indicate that the assessment of pro-social behaviour yields additional information regarding the developmental pathways of emotional symptoms.
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ABSTRACT: This study investigated the concurrent and longitudinal relations among children’s peer victimization, empathy, and emotional symptoms. The sample consisted of 175 children (85 girls, mean age=6.1years) recruited from kindergartens in Switzerland and followed for 1year (Time 2). Parents and teachers reported on the children’s emotional symptoms, empathy, and victimization. Children reported their empathy and victimization experiences. Peer victimization was a predictor of emotional symptoms at Time 1; this association was stronger for children with average or high levels of empathy. Increases in peer victimization predicted increases in boys’ emotional symptoms, and increases in victimization were related to decreases in empathy. The results emphasize the role of negative peer relations and children’s social-emotional information processing for the development of emotional symptoms.Child Psychiatry and Human Development 04/2012; 41(1):98-113. · 1.93 Impact Factor
Article: Validity and reliability of the strengths and difficulties questionnaire in 5-6 year olds: differences by gender or by parental education?[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) is a relatively short instrument developed to detect psychosocial problems in children aged 3-16 years. It addresses four dimensions: emotional problems, conduct problems, hyperactivity/inattention problems, peer problems that count up to the total difficulties score, and a fifth dimension; prosocial behaviour. The validity and reliability of the SDQ has not been fully investigated in younger age groups. Therefore, this study assesses the validity and reliability of the parent and teacher versions of the SDQ in children aged 5-6 years in the total sample, and in subgroups according to child gender and parental education level. The SDQ was administered as part of the Dutch regularly provided preventive health check for children aged 5-6 years. Parents provided information on 4750 children and teachers on 4516 children. Factor analyses of the parent and teacher SDQ confirmed that the original five scales were present (parent RMSEA = 0.05; teacher RMSEA = 0.07). Interrater correlations between parents and teachers were small (ICCs of 0.21-0.44) but comparable to what is generally found for psychosocial problem assessments in children. These correlations were larger for males than for females. Cronbach's alphas for the total difficulties score were 0.77 for the parent SDQ and 0.81 for the teacher SDQ. Four of the subscales on the parent SDQ and two of the subscales on the teacher SDQ had an alpha <0.70. Alphas were generally higher for male children and for low parental education level. The validity and reliability of the total difficulties score of the parent and teacher SDQ are satisfactory in all groups by informant, child gender, and parental education level. Our results support the use of the SDQ in younger age groups. However, some subscales are less reliable and we recommend only to use the total difficulties score for screening purposes.PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(5):e36805. · 4.09 Impact Factor