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Children's socio-emotional, physical, and cognitive outcomes: Do they share the same drivers?


Ann Sanson, PhD, Department of Paediatrics, The University of Melbourne, Royal Children's Hospital, Flemington Rd., Parkville, VIC 3052, Australia. Email:


It is commonly asserted that the same, or similar, risk factors are associated with a wide range of problematic child and adolescent outcomes such as educational, social and emotional problems, and poor health. This argument underpins calls for preventive approaches that target common causal drivers. However, the argument rests largely on the compilation of findings from multiple studies of single outcomes. Growing Up in Australia, the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children, is one of relatively few studies that can directly test this proposition within the one dataset. The same neighbourhood, child care, school, family, and child factors measured at 4–5 and 6–7 years were used to predict children's social/emotional, physical, and learning outcomes at 8–9 years, allowing assessment of commonalities in the predictors of each outcome. Results showed that the ‘common drivers’ proposition generally applied, but there were also unique factors associated with each outcome. Implications for intervention are discussed.