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A longitudinal community study: do psychosocial risk factors and child behavior checklist scores at 5 years of age predict psychiatric diagnoses at a later age?

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University Hospital of Maastricht, Department of Neurology, The Netherlands.



To examine the extent to which certain risk factors in 5- to 6-year-old children predict later psychopathology in a population-based sample of children from the province of Limburg in the south of the Netherlands.


Of the 2,290 children of interest, 1,317 children were screened with the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) and psychosocial risk factors for these children were collected. On the basis of the CBCL ratings, 403 children participated in the second stage in which, 1.5 years later, standardized child psychiatric information was obtained. Weighted logistic regression analyses were used to investigate predictors of psychopathology.


In separate analyses of specific types of child psychopathology, different risk factors emerged as significant. Low-level parental occupation and having foreign-born parents were predictive of conduct disorders, and living in a single-parent family and a having a life event were the most important predictors of mood and anxiety disorders. Furthermore, CBCL-based ratings at 5 to 6 years of age corresponded well with interview-defined diagnoses 1.5 years later.


Investigation of psychosocial risk factors and CBCL scores at the age of 5 to 6 years could be helpful in predicting child psychopathology and could help identify children at risk, in order to provide them with timely attention.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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