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Keywords:

  • Child development;
  • psychosocial problems;
  • school;
  • health care

The study comprised all 1715 children born in 1965 and resident in Uppsala at age 10 and 18 years. Data were collected through teacher interviews and analysis of school health records in grade 3 at the age of 10 years. The psychosocial burden up to the age of 18 years was assessed on the basis of all registered contacts with official institutions outside school (authorities for care of the handicapped, Department of Child Psychiatry, social agencies, legal authorities). Approximately 12% of the adolescents were clearly in a situation of manifest psychosocial risk on the threshold of adult life. These adolescents were assigned to five mutually exclusive problem groups comprising different sex distribution, symptoms and utilization of institutional care. The analysis of the relationship between data from grade 3 and the psychosocial burden up to 18 years of age showed that the information available to the school did not permit reasonably secure predictions of the child's psychosocial situation at the end of adolescence. Observations in school of pre-adolescent children cannot be used as a basis for risk-group strategies aiming at concentrating early treatment measures and resources to a restricted number of children at risk. However, the prognosis is apparently serious for a limited number of 10-year-olds with serious problems in school.