Few studies have focused on conduct problems and co-occurring problems among the youngest children in schools, such as social, internalizing and attention problems. In particular, there is a lack of studies that differentiate between boys and girls in terms of such problems.
The aim of the current study was to test associations between conduct problems and social, internalizing and attention problems, as well as adaptive school functioning, which was rated by the teachers of boys and girls in grades 1-3.
In a cross-sectional study, 103 boys and 108 girls in grades 1-3 at six schools participated in a national Norwegian study of child conduct problems in the normal population. Linear regression analysis was used to test the associations between conduct problems, social skills, problems of internalization, attention problems and adaptation to school among boys and girls.
There were significant associations between high levels of conduct problems and social skills problems, attention problems and low adaptive school functioning scores among boys and girls. Attention problems had the most powerful associations with conduct problems for both genders.
Young schoolchildren with high levels of conduct problems also had co-occurring problems. Schools and teachers need to adopt a comprehensive approach to help these children during their first years in school.