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Pathways of behavioural and emotional symptoms in kindergarten children: What is the role of pro-social behaviour?


Perren, Sonja; Stadelmann, Stephanie; von Wyl, Agnes; von Klitzing, Kai (2007). Pathways of behavioural and emotional symptoms in kindergarten children: What is the role of pro-social behaviour? European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 16(4):209-214.

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

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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Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:National licences > 142-005
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > Pediatrics, Perinatology and Child Health
Social Sciences & Humanities > Developmental and Educational Psychology
Health Sciences > Psychiatry and Mental Health
Language:English
Date:1 June 2007
Deposited On:09 Dec 2018 15:06
Last Modified:15 Apr 2021 14:53
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:1018-8827
OA Status:Green
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s00787-006-0588-6

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