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Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2009 May;18(5):292-300. doi: 10.1007/s00787-008-0730-8. Epub 2009 Jan 20.

Children and adolescents with congenital heart disease: assessment of behavioural and emotional problems.

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Clinic of Clinical Service, Rikshospitalet University Hospital, Oslo, Norway.



The objective of the study was to assess behavioural and emotional problems in children and adolescents with congenital cardiac disease.


From the database of Paediatric Heart Section, Rikshospitalet University Hospital, Norway, 430 patients and their parents were included and received questionnaires of youth self-report and child behavior checklist. The response rate was 71.4%.


Compared to their parents children with congenital heart disease reported more behavioural and emotional problems. Boys scored significantly higher than girls in total problem score and externalising scores with more social problems, attention problems, delinquent behaviour and aggressive behaviour. No gender difference was found regarding internalising problem score. Compared to healthy boys, no differences were found in total problem, externalising or internalising score. In girls lower values were found in patients than healthy children for total problem, externalising and internalising scores.


In the present study boys scored themselves higher with regard to total problem score than girls. No effect was found of due to different diagnoses. The data indicate that the children experience more problems than the parents are aware of. However, the behaviour problem scores in children with cardiac disease are significantly lower than in healthy children. A close parental follow-up and an experience of being exposed to life-threatening situation may play a role for the latter results.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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