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Impact of life events on child mental health before school entry at age six

[journal article]

Furniss, Tilman; Beyer, Thomas; Müller, Jörg M.

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Please use the following Persistent Identifier (PID) to cite this document:http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0168-ssoar-202700

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Abstract The study examined the association between life events and early child mental health prior to school entry. The impact of single life events and the cumulative effect of multiple life events on child mental health were examined. In a northern German city, the complete 1-year intake of preschool children at the primary school entry assessment was included. In 1,887 children, life events and psychiatric symptoms were recorded by means of standardized parent questionnaires. Included were all life events between child’s birth and school entry. For more than 80 percent of all children, at least one life event was reported. The number of life events was independent of any demographic variable; the mean was 2.2. The number of life events had a highly significant effect on the prevalence of child mental health problems. Six family-change-factors, especially coherent in content, could be identified by factor analysis. The study provides important data on the epidemiology and clinical impact of life events and psychopathology in early childhood. For child mental health, the cumulative effect of multiple life events was found to be much more important than the effect of specific single life events.
Classification Developmental Psychology; Psychological Disorders, Mental Health Treatment and Prevention
Free Keywords Child mental health; Life events; Preschool age; School entry
Document language English
Publication Year 2009
Page/Pages p. 717-724
Journal European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 18 (2009) 12
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00787-009-0013-z
Status Postprint; peer reviewed
Licence PEER Licence Agreement (applicable only to documents from PEER project)