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Social-emotional problems among Swedish three-year-olds: an Item Response Theory analysis of the Ages and Stages Questionnaires: Social-Emotional
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology and Global Health.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0791-0256
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology and Global Health.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8184-6360
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology and Global Health.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8944-2558
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology and Global Health.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5517-0803
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2020 (English)In: BMC Pediatrics, ISSN 1471-2431, E-ISSN 1471-2431, Vol. 20, no 1, article id 149Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: There is enough evidence to believe that young children's social-emotional problems can have a long-term effect if extra support is not given early. Therefore, early identification of such problems and any differences between boys and girls are of importance. We utilized the 36-month interval of the Ages and Stages Questionnaires: Social-Emotional (ASQ:SE) among 3-year-olds aiming: 1) to report the normative values of social-emotional problems for Swedish boys and girls; 2) to identify ASQ:SE items that are most commonly endorsed by children with high level of social-emotional problems (high score on ASQ:SE); 3) to assess whether certain ASQ:SE items differ between boys and girls at the same level of social-emotional problems; and 4) to examine whether ASQ:SE performs well in identifying children with high level of social-emotional problems (high score on ASQ:SE).

Method: During 2014–2017, data were collected from 7179 three-year-old children (boys = 3719, girls = 3460) through Child Health Care in the Region Västerbotten in the northern part of Sweden. Unidimensionality was assessed by Confirmatory Factor Analysis and goodness-of-fit was reported. Item Response Theory was used to answer the aims of the study.

Results: Items regarding interest in sexual words, too little sleep, disinterest in things around, unhappiness and self-injury were more commonly endorsed by children with high levels of social-emotional problems, as reported by their parents. For the same level of social-emotional problem, girls were more likely to demonstrate difficulties in occupying themselves, clinging behaviour and repetitive behaviour. On the other hand, boys were more likely to score high in items regarding destruction of things on purpose, difficulty to name friends and to express feelings. We have also found that the ASQ:SE is suitable for identifying children with high level of social-emotional problems.

Conclusion: The salient point of our study was to increase knowledge about Swedish children's social-emotional problems at 3-years of age based on the psychometric characteristics of the ASQ:SE using Item Response Theory model. The gender differences as well as those items that occurred at high levels of social-emotional problems should be of concern for everyday practice in Child Health Care.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer Nature, 2020. Vol. 20, no 1, article id 149
Keywords [en]
Ages & Stages Questionnaires: Social-Emotional (ASQ:SE), Item Response Theory (IRT), Pre-school children, Social-emotional problems
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-169929DOI: 10.1186/s12887-020-2000-yISI: 000523716100001PubMedID: 32247313Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85083022924OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-169929DiVA, id: diva2:1425758
Available from: 2020-04-22 Created: 2020-04-22 Last updated: 2023-03-23Bibliographically approved

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Vaezghasemi, MasoudEurenius, EvaIvarsson, AnneliRichter Sundberg, LindaSilfverdal, Sven-ArneLindkvist, Marie

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