6-item assessment IDs infants with self-regulation problems

  • Cook F & al.
  • Pediatrics
  • 8 Feb 2019

  • curated by Emily Willingham, PhD
  • Clinical Essentials
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Takeaway

  • A 6-item assessment identifies infants who might need further assessment for moderate-severe regulatory problems.
  • A history of these problems in infancy is tied to mental health concerns at ages 5 and 11 years, according to this longitudinal study.

Why this matters

  • Accompanying editorial calls the assessment “brief and basic” but says that if anticipated data on its validation provide support, “it should be seriously considered.”

Key results

  • Investigators established 5 profiles based on the primary feature of each grouping:
    • Settled (36.8%), sleep problems (25.4%), tantrums (21.3%), moderately unsettled (13.2%), severely unsettled (3.4%).
  • Vs settled children, odds (ORs; 95% CIs) for scoring in the clinical range for mental health difficulties were:
    • 2.85 (1.28-6.36; P<.01 for moderately unsettled children at age years.>
    • 9.35 (2.49-35.11; P<.01 for severely unsettled children at age years.>
    • 10.37 (3.74-28.70; P<.01 for severely unsettled children at age years.>

Study design

  • 1759 mothers completed questionnaire when infants were age 8-12 months (50% boys).
  • 1002 completed another questionnaire when their child was age 5 years; 871 when their child was age 11 years.
  • Infants were grouped by regulatory profile.
  • Funding: National Health and Medical Research Council, Australia; others. 

Limitations

  • No diagnostic interviews for mental health.