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Keywords:

  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder;
  • behavioural problems;
  • maturational rate

A slow maturational rate may be an underlying antecedent of a psychiatric disorder. If this is correct, differences in behavioural problems could be related to the maturity level in children of the same chronological age. The aim of the study was to compare the parents' perceptions and assessments of their children's maturational status and behavioural problems. A population based on a nationwide sample from the Swedish twin-register of 8 to 9-y-old children (n= 1079) was used. The parents completed a questionnaire including their views on their child's maturity level, the Swedish version of the Child Behaviour Checklist (CBCL) and an Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) checklist based on the DSM-III-R criteria. Multivariate analyses showed a statistically significant relationship between immaturity reported by the parents and several behavioural problems reported on the CBCL: somatic complaints, anxious and depressed, social problems, thought problems, attention problems, behaviour problems and aggressive behaviour. There was also a statistically significant relationship between the maturity factor and the CBCL grouping of syndromes (internalizing, externalizing, total behaviour problems score) as well as between the maturity factor and ADHD.

Conclusion: We conclude that at least from the parents' point of view the behaviour problems in their children may be related to maturity.