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Ital J Pediatr. 2014 Feb 18;40(1):19. doi: 10.1186/1824-7288-40-19.

Epidemiological study on behavioural and emotional problems in developmental age: prevalence in a sample of Italian children, based on parent and teacher reports.

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  • 1Department of Translational Medical Sciences, University Federico II of Naples, Via Pansini 5, 80131 Naples, Italy. carmela.bravaccio@unina.it.



The aim of this study is to examine the prevalence of behavioural and emotional problems in a sample of school children living in Campania, a region of South Italy.


The Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) Parent Report Form (PRF) and the CBCL Teacher Rating Form (TRF) were administered to parents and teachers of a sample of school children aged 8-9 yr.


The subjects (SS) eligible for the study were 3072. In 2137 (69.5%) cases parents returned the envelopes back. 1228 (57.4%) subjects were excluded because of lack of signed consensus, unfilled or incomplete forms. Parents reported children's behavioural or emotional Total Problems in 14.7% of the SS. (5.2% borderline, 9.5% clinical), Internalizing Problems in 18.5% (8.0% borderline, 10.5% clinical), and Externalizing Problems in 8.5% (3.8% borderline, 4.7% clinical) respectively. At the Competence Scale of CBCL more than 2/3 of the sample show high rate for Total Competence Problem (24.3% borderline, 47.3% clinical.) Teachers reported 8.7% of SS having Total Problems, (4.3% borderline, 4.4% clinical), Internalizing problems were detected in 13.3% of the sample (4.9% borderline and 8.4% clinical), while Externalizing problems were reported for 9.6% of SS (4.1% borderline and 5.5% clinical). In the sub-scale of Academic Performances teachers report a high number of subjects with problems, 18.7%, whose 4.3% had a "borderline" score, and 14.4% had a "clinical" score.


Concerning Total Problems (clinical and borderline SS, 14.7% as reported by parents, 8.7% as reported by teachers) we obtained a prevalence similar to that reported in the rest of the country, with differences in gender (males 13.2%, females 16.0% as reported by parents; males 7.4%, females 9.7% as reported by teachers). The difficulties in social and relationship competencies area were higher (4/10 children). This datum should be cautiously evaluated because the possible inadequacy of CBCL competences scale.

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