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Psychosocial determinants of behaviour problems in Brazilian preschool children


Luciana Anselmi, FURG, Rua Eng. Alfredo Huch 475, DECC, CEP: 96201900. Rio Grande – RS – Brazil; Email:


Background:  This investigation aimed at examining, through an epidemiological study, the social demographic, family and individual determinants of behaviour problems in preschool children.

Method:  Six hundred and thirty-four children, age four years, and their mothers, belonging to a cohort of 5,304 children being followed from birth, took part in the study. During a home visit, the child's behaviour problems and IQ were examined, as well as the prevalence of maternal psychiatric disorder, the quality of the home environment, and other social demographic, family and individual factors.

Results:  The results revealed a prevalence of children's behaviour problems of 24% (clinical and borderline groups). Regression analysis showed that maternal psychiatric disorder, education and age, number of younger siblings and quality of the home environment explained 28% of the variance of the child's behaviour problems.

Conclusions:  The results point to the multi-determination of child behaviour problems.