Population level assessment of the family risk factors related to the onset or persistence of children's mental health problems

Dwyer, Sarah B., Nicholson, Jan M., & Battistutta, Diana (2003) Population level assessment of the family risk factors related to the onset or persistence of children's mental health problems. The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 44(5), pp. 699-711.

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Background: Despite their great potential to inform intervention planning, screening instruments that assess children’s exposure to multiple, non-behavioural risk factors are rare. The Family Risk Factor Checklist – Parent (FRFC-P), was designed to facilitate community risk factor profiling and subsequent intervention planning. The aims of the current study were to establish the psychometric properties of the FRFC-P and to examine the relative importance of family risk factors in relation to the onset versus persistence of children’s mental health problems. Method: Data were collected from 1022 parents of 4–8-year-old children as part of the Promoting Adjustment in Schools Project (PROMAS). The FRFC-Passessed children’s exposure to risk across five domains: adverse life events and instability (ALI); family structure and SES (SES); parenting practices (PAR); parental verbal conflict and mood problems (VCM); and parental antisocial and psychotic behaviour (APB). Results: The FRFC-P had satisfactory testretest reliability and construct validity, but modest internal consistency. Risk assessed by the PAR domain was the most important determinant of mental health problem onset, while the PAR, VCM, and APB domains were the strongest predictors of mental health problem persistence. Conclusions: These findings highlight the importance of considering risk factors for onset separately from risk factors for persistence of mental health problems and indicate that the studied population may benefit the most from preventive interventions that address parenting practices and treatment interventions that address parenting practices, and parental mood problems, conflict, antisocial behaviour, and psychiatric disorders.

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16 citations in Scopus
11 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 8861
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: For more information, please refer to the journal’s website (see hypertext link) or contact the author.
Author contact details: d.battistutta@qut.edu.au
Keywords: Checklist, family risk factors, onset, persistence, mental health, children
DOI: 10.1111/1469-7610.00156
ISSN: 0021-9630
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Centre for Health Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2003 Blackwell Publishing
Copyright Statement: The definitive version is available at www.blackwell-synergy.com
Deposited On: 02 Aug 2007 00:00
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 12:57

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