What predicts persistent early conduct problems? Evidence from the Growing Up in Scotland cohort

Wilson Dr., Philip and Bradshaw, Paul and Tipping, Sarah and Henderson, Marion and Der, Geoff and Minnis, Helen (2012) What predicts persistent early conduct problems? Evidence from the Growing Up in Scotland cohort. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 67 (1). pp. 76-80. ISSN 0143-005X (https://doi.org/10.1136/jech-2011-200856)

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Background: There is a strong case for early identification of factors predicting life-course-persistent conduct disorder. The authors aimed to identify factors associated with repeated parental reports of preschool conduct problems. Method: Nested caseecontrol study of Scottish children who had behavioural data reported by parents at 3, 4 and 5 years. Results: 79 children had abnormal conduct scores at all three time points ('persistent conduct problems') and 434 at one or two points ('inconsistent conduct problems'). 1557 children never had abnormal scores. Compared with children with no conduct problems, children with reported problems were significantly more likely to have mothers who smoked during pregnancy. They were less likely to be living with both parents and more likely to be in poor general health, to have difficulty being understood, to have a parent who agrees that smacking is sometimes necessary and to be taken to visit other people with children rarely. The results for children with persistent and inconsistent conduct problems were similar, but associations with poverty and maternal smoking were significantly less strong in the inconsistent group. Conclusion: These factors may be valuable in early identification of risk of major social difficulties.