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Factors contributing to beneficial development of social emotional ability in early childhood

Research project The social and emotional development of children is crucial for child health and overall well-being, but there is limited knowledge on social emotional ability in early childhood and what influences it, which this research project will try to answer.

The main research focus will be on 3-year-olds socio-emotional ability. I will study differences among 3-year-olds regarding gender, socioeconomics, ethnicity, and rural/urban living. I will also put emphasis to find out which factors are contributing to beneficial development of socio-emotional ability from the prenatal period up to the child turns three years. In collaboration with other researchers at Umeå University, other studies are planned within the field of socio-emotional development among 3-year-old children concerning standardization and psychometrics of the instrument Ages and Stages Questionnaire: Social-Emotional (ASQ:SE), among other things.

Head of project

Project overview

Project period

2016-11-30 2020-11-30

Funding

Region Västerbotten, ALF-funding, 2017-2020: SEK 1,000,000

Research subject

Public health and health care science

Project description

The social and emotional development of children is crucial to their health and overall well-being, but there is limited knowledge on social emotional ability in early childhood and what influences it. We aim to describe socio-emotional ability in early childhood and investigate factors contributing to its development.

A prospective cohort study design will be used, starting in the prenatal period and continuing until age 3 years including about 4000 mother-father-child triads. Local data will be collected, as part of the County Council’s ordinary epidemiological surveillance, combined with national population and health register data.

The data collection points and sources: 1) Early pregnancy: a parental questionnaire incl. socio-demography, self-rated health, weight/height and lifestyle. 2) Delivery and infant’s first days in life: data from Medical Birth Register on maternal and child diseases and health indicators. 3) At age 3 years: a parental questionnaire incl. the Ages & Stages Questionnaire: Social-Emotional covering functional aspects of social emotional ability, other information on the child/family, and socio-demographics from Statistics Sweden.

The new knowledge generated will be used for developing strategies for early promotion of social-emotional ability, which is key for health in later life. Such knowledge is called for by the scientific
community and for evidence-based practice in several sectors of society, Antenatal Care and Child Health Care, as well as preschools.