We present epidemiological data from a multi-centre study on psychiatric symptoms among 6017 8-9-year-old children representing a total annual birth cohort (N = 60007) in Finland. The results are based on three questionnaires: the Rutter Parent Scale (RA2), the Rutter Teacher Scale (RB2), the Children's Depression Inventory (CDI). The proportion of children that scored above the cutoff points, indicating probable psychiatric disturbance, were 11.2% for the RA2, 13.9% for the RB2 and 6.9% for the CDI. Twenty-four percent of the subjects scored above the cutoff point on at least one of the questionnaires. Low family social status and disrupted family relations correlated strongly with high rates of symptoms in the children.
The aim of this study was to assess bullying and psychological disturbance among 5,813 elementary school-aged children.
The data consisted of information given by the parents, teachers, and children themselves (Rutter A2 Scale, Rutter B2 Scale and Children's Depression Inventory). Children involved in bullying (as bullies, bully-victims, and victims) were compared to other children.
More boys than girls were found to be involved in bullying. Bully-victims scored highest in externalizing behaviour and hyperactivity, and they themselves reported feelings of ineffectiveness and interpersonal problems. Victims scored highest in internalizing behavior and also psychosomatic symptoms, and they themselves reported anhedonia. Some gender differences in psychiatric symptomatology were also found. Children involved in bullying, especially children who both bullied and were bullied themselves, were psychologically disturbed. More children involved in bullying than others were referred for psychiatric consultation. The probability of being referred was highest among bully-victims (6.5 fold for males and 9.9 for females when compared to children not involved in bullying).
The findings indicate that bullying is a common phenomenon among children who are psychologically disturbed. Bullying also elevates the probability of being referred for psychiatric consultation.
To study Finnish general practitioners' (GP's) perceptions of their child psychiatric skills.
The study sample consisted of physicians (n=755) working in health centres situated in the special response area of the Tampere University Hospital, Finland. They were requested to assess their competence in 16 areas on a four-step Likert scale. The response rate was 66.1% (n=499).
Physicians evaluated their child psychiatric skills as inadequate on many issues. The ability to identify depression was poorer the younger the child in question. Only a minority (14%) felt they were well able to identify a depressed infant. Many physicians considered themselves poorly skilled in assessing the relationship between infant and parents (39.8%), in assessing a child's need for psychiatric treatment (42.7%) and in identifying a child with attention-deficit disorder (40.7%). A majority (75.9%) rated their skills poor in co-operating with daycare personnel or school staff in matters concerning a child with conduct disturbance. Only 26.8% could assess the necessity of taking a child into custody. Women gave higher ratings of their skills in identifying depressed infants and in assessing the infant-parent relationship than men, whereas men assessed their skills as better in cases in which there were problems in co-operation with parents.
In order to provide good psychiatric services for children, attention should be paid to the GPs' child psychiatric skills.
This study assessed the agreement between parents and teachers concerning behavioural/emotional symptoms of children. 5671 children born in 1981 (mean age 8.5 years at the time of study) were studied using the Rutter Parent Questionnaire (RA2) and the Rutter Teacher Questionnaire (RB2). Boys had more behavioural symptoms on both scales, 3.6% of the boys and 2.3% of the girls were deviant on both scales. Agreement between parents and teachers on single behaviours was better for deviant girls than for deviant boys. The factors constructed from the Rutter scale items (separately of each scale) represented externalizing, internalizing and hyperactivity behaviours. For all children, moderate correlations between parents' and teachers' ratings were found in externalizing behaviour and hyperactivity. Correlations of the factors were clearly higher for deviant girls than for deviant boys. Scoring high on one of the scales increased the probability of scoring high on the second scale. The discussion focuses on factors that may affect agreement between parents and teachers when behavioural symptoms are assessed.
In order to find out whether parents and teachers report depressive symptoms in children with self-reported depression and which features are connected with sought psychiatric care, a sample of 5682 prepubertal children was assessed with the Children's Depression Inventory (CDI), the Rutter A2 scale (RA) and Rutter B2 scale (RB). In stepwise regression analysis of parent report, depressed mood, unpopularity, social withdrawal, disobedience, inattentiveness, and stealing were associated with high CDI scores. The items of the teacher report associated with high CDI scores included poor school performance, restlessness, somatic complaints, unresponsiveness, being bullied, and absenteeism from school. Although the parents and teachers readily saw and reported depressive symptoms in children, only for a small minority of children with multiple depressive symptoms had psychiatric care been sought or even considered. The symptoms associated with sought psychiatric care for depressed children were somatic (soiling, asthma) and behavioural (disobedient, restless). The results indicate that a large number of children with multiple depressive symptoms are left without necessary psychiatric assessment and help.
In an epidemiological multi-centre study, parents filled in the Rutter Parent Questionnaire (RA2) and teachers filled in the Rutter Teacher Questionnaire (RB2) for almost 6000 children. The children filled in the Children's Depression Inventory (CDI). The subjects well represented the entire population of 8-9-year-old children in Finland. The material and design of the study as well as the basic demographic characteristics are presented.
The association between family structure and behavioural and emotional symptoms in prepubertal children was studied in an epidemiological survey conducted in Finland. Five thousand eight hundred thirteen children aged 8 and 9 years were screened using the Rutter Parent Questionnaire (RA2) for parents and the Rutter Teacher Questionnaire (RB2) for teachers. Information concerning family type, birth order and sibship size were obtained from the parents. The majority of the children (84%) in the sample lived with both their biological parents, 10% with a single parent, and around 5% with a biological parent and a stepparent. Around 1% of the children lived outside their original home. The prevalence of behavioural and emotional symptoms was lowest in children living with both their biological parents and highest among children living outside their original home according to both parents' and teachers' reports. Children living with a parent and a stepparent had problems more often at home, but less often at school than children living with a single parent. Living with a single father was associated with having more externalizing, school-related problems, while living with a stepfather was associated with having more internalizing, home related problems. Having younger siblings seemed to be associated with fewer problems at school, and being the youngest child with having less problems both at home and at school.
Psychological stress is associated with physical illnesses like asthma or infections. For an infant, situations perceived as stressful are highly dependent on the relationship with the caregiver. Constantly poor mother-infant interaction increases the child's vulnerability to stressful conditions and experiences. The aim of the study was to investigate the impact of the quality of early mother-infant interaction on the subsequent physical health of the child. Poor mother-infant interaction was hypothesized to be associated with chronic or recurrent health problems in the child.
Fifty-seven mother-infant dyads from families at risk of psychosocial problems and 63 from non-risk families, altogether 120 dyads, participated in the study. Families were drawn from normal population, from well-baby clinics in the city of Tampere, Finland. Infants were full-term and healthy, families with severe risks like psychotic illnesses of the parents or a history of child protection concerns were excluded from the study.
After the initial interview with the mother, the mother-infant interaction was videotaped when the infants were 8-11 weeks of age and the interaction was assessed using the Global Rating Scale for Mother-Infant Interaction (Murray et al. 1996a). After the 2-year follow-up mothers were interviewed again and the health problems of the child were elicited.
Poor dyadic mother-infant interaction and infant's poor interactive behaviour assessed at two months were separately associated with the physical health of the child during the two-year follow-up. After adjusting for other factors in the logistic regression analysis infant's poor interactive behaviour remained as a significant predictor of chronic or recurrent health problems in the child. Infant's health problems at the time of the initial interview and day care centre attendance were also significant predictors.
The results suggest that interactional issues between a mother and her infant are related to the child's subsequent physical health. Children with recurrent or chronic health problems may have relationship difficulties with which they need help. Also, early avoidant behaviour of the infant should be regarded as an indicator of the infant's distress with possibly adverse outcomes in the child's physical health, among other consequences.
To investigate whether prenatal, postnatal, and/or current maternal depressive symptoms are associated with low level of psychosocial functioning or high level of emotional/behavioral problems in school-age children.
As part of a prospective longitudinal study, maternal depressive symptoms were screened with the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale prenatally, postnatally, and when the children were 8 to 9 years old. The original sample of 349 mothers was collected in 1989-1990 in Tampere, Finland. Of the 270 mother-child pairs at the latest stage of the study in 1997-1998, 188 mother-child pairs participated and 147 were included. The associations between maternal depressive symptoms at different points in time and the level of children's psychosocial functioning and problems reported on the Child Behavior Checklist and Teacher's Report Form were examined.
Children's low social competence and low adaptive functioning were associated with concurrent maternal depressive symptoms. Maternal postnatal depressive symptoms predicted low social competence. The presence of prenatal depressive symptoms in the mother was a strong predictor of child's high externalizing and total problem levels (odds ratio 3.1, 95% confidence interval 1.1-8.9 and odds ratio 8.5, 95% confidence interval 2.7-26.5). Prenatal as well as recurrent maternal depressive symptoms were associated with the least favorable child outcome.
Maternal depressive symptomatology at any time, especially prenatally, is a risk factor for the child's well-being. This should be noted already in prenatal care. The timing and the recurrence of maternal depressive symptoms affect the outcome for the child.
Using three questionnaires, the Rutter Parent Questionnaire (RA2), The Rutter Teacher Questionnaire (RB2) and the Children's Depression Inventory (CDI), we screened 8-9-year-old children representing a total annual birth cohort (N = 60007) in Finland. In a second stage we interviewed the parents of 119 screen negative, and 316 screen positive children by using a structured parent interview. At the population level the overall prevalence rate for psychiatric disturbance was 21.8%, higher among boys (29.8%) than among girls (12.8%). Nine percent of the children were in urgent need of treatment and, in addition, 25% were in need of assessment. The prevalence of different levels of disturbance was: reactive 9.5%; neurotic 18.4%; borderline 3.1%; and other severe disorders 2.3%. The prevalence of different diagnostic groups were: anxiety disorder 5.2%; depressive disorder 6.2%; specific fears 2.4%; defiant and conduct disorder 4.7%; and attention-deficit hyperactivity-disorder 7.1%. The prevalence for the most common single first Axis-I DSM-III-R diagnoses were: attention-deficit hyperactivity-disorder 7%; dysthymia 4.6%; adjustment disorder with mixed disturbance of emotion and conduct 3.4%; oppositional defiant disorder 2.7%; specific fear 1.7%; anxiety disorder 1.5%; enuresis nocturnal 1.5%; and depression 1.4%. Only 3.1% of the children had visited health professionals for psychiatric problems during the previous three months. Only a minority of the children with psychiatric disturbances had ever consulted health professionals for their problems. Of all the children, 7.5% had a severe psychiatric disturbance that had lasted for more than 3 years.