Screening in early childhood for risk of later mental health problems : a longitudinal study

Najman, Jake M., Heron, Michelle A., Hayatbakhsh, Mohammad R., Dingle, Kaeleen D., Jamrozik, Konrad, Bor, William, O’Callaghan, Michael, & Williams, Gail M. (2008) Screening in early childhood for risk of later mental health problems : a longitudinal study. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 42(8), pp. 694-700.

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Abstract

Depression in childhood or adolescence is associated with increased rates of depression in adulthood. Does this justify efforts to detect (and treat) those with symptoms of depression in early childhood or adolescence?

The aim of this study was to determine how well symptoms of anxiety/depression (A-D) in early childhood and adolescence predict adult mental health. The study sample is taken from a population-based prospective birth cohort study. Of the 8556 mothers initially approached to participate 8458 agreed, of whom 7223 mothers gave birth to a live singleton baby. Children were screened using modified Child Behaviour Checklist (CBCL) scales for internalizing and total problems (T-P) at age 5 and the CBCL and Youth Self Report (YSR) A-D subscale and T-P scale at age 14. At age 21, a sub-sample of 2563 young adults in this cohort were administered the CIDI-Auto. Results indicated that screening at age 5 would detect few later cases of significant mental ill-health. Using a cut-point of 20% for internalizing at child age 5 years the CBCL had sensitivities of only 25% and 18% for major depression and anxiety disorders at 21 years, respectively. At age 14, the YSR generally performed a little better than the CBCL as a screening instrument, but neither performed at a satisfactory level. Of the children who were categorised as having YSR A-D at 14 years 30% and 37% met DSM-IV criteria for major depression and anxiety disorders, respectively, at age 21. Our findings challenge an existing movement encouraging the detection and treatment of those with symptoms of mental illness in early childhood.

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ID Code: 61641
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Screening, Psychopathology, Childhood, Adolescence, Adult
DOI: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2007.08.002
ISSN: 0022-3956
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700) > Epidemiology (111706)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700) > Mental Health (111714)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Schools > School of Public Health & Social Work
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2008 Elsevier
Copyright Statement: This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Journal of Psychiatric Research. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Journal of Psychiatric Research, [VOL 42, ISSUE 8, (2013)] DOI: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2007.08.002
Deposited On: 02 Aug 2013 01:27
Last Modified: 04 Aug 2013 23:50

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