Demographic and perinatal factors for behavioral problems among children aged 4–9 in Taiwan

Authors

  • Yen-Nan Chiu md ,

    1. Department of Psychiatry, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei,
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  • Susan Shur-Fen Gau md, phd,

    1. Department of Psychiatry, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei,
    2. Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, National Taiwan University and
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  • Wen-Che Tsai md ,

    1. Department of Psychiatry, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei,
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  • Wei-Tsuen Soong md ,

    1. Department of Psychiatry, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei,
    2. Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, National Taiwan University and
    3. St Joseph's Hospital, Yunlin County, Taiwan
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  • Chi-Yung Shang md

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Psychiatry, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei,
    2. Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, National Taiwan University and
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*Chi-Yung Shang, MD, Department of Psychiatry, National Taiwan University Hospital and College of Medicine, No. 7, Chung-Shan South Road, Taipei 10002, Taiwan. Email: cyshang@ntu.edu.tw

Abstract

Aim:  To investigate the effects of age, gender, prenatal/perinatal factors, and maternal psychological distress on childhood emotional/behavioral problems, and the gender difference in the patterns of comorbid emotional/behavioral problems.

Methods:  The sample included 1391 children aged 4–9 in Taipei using a multi-stage sampling method. Their mothers completed questionnaires including demographics, prenatal/perinatal variables, the Child Behavior Checklist, and the Chinese Health Questionnaire. The linear and non-linear mixed model was used for data analysis.

Results:  Boys scored higher on externalizing problems, and girls scored higher on internalizing problems. Gender also modified the comorbid patterns of emotional/behavioral problems. Aggressive behaviors decreased, but attention and thought problems increased with age. Prenatal/perinatal exposure to alcohol and coffee, vaginal bleeding, and gestational diabetes, low birthweight, and postnatal incubation and resuscitation, and maternal psychological distress predicted the risk for several childhood emotional/behavioral problems.

Conclusion:  Prenatal/perinatal and maternal care, and gender-specific measures are important for prevention of childhood emotional/behavioral problems.

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