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Social-emotional health among children

Research project Paving the way for children’s rights to good and equal social-emotional health: An epidemiological and health economic study

Mental health in children show worrying signs of deterioration over time, possibly aggravated during the Covid-19 pandemic. Children’s social-emotional health is an important part of their wellbeing and mental health throughout childhood and across the life course. However, little is known about young children’s social-emotional health and its determinants.

Head of project

Anneli Ivarsson
Professor, senior consultant (attending) physician
E-mail
Email

Project overview

Project period:

2022-01-01 2024-01-01

Participating departments and units at Umeå University

Department of Applied Educational Science Research, Department of Clinical Sciences, Department of Epidemiology and Global Health

Research area

Public health and health care science

External funding

Forte

Project description

The overall purpose of this multidisciplinary project is to pave the way for each child’s right to achieve the best possible social-emotional health. Our research questions are:

1) Which individual, familial and contextual factors, from pregnancy and beyond, contribute to social-emotional problems at 3 years of age?

2) Has the prevalence and socioeconomic patterning of social-emotional problems among 3-year-olds changed over time, and is there any temporal relationship with this and the Covid-19 pandemic?

3) Is routine screening for social-emotional problems at 3 years of age followed by evidence-based interventions, a cost-effective approach?

A prospective cohort from pregnancy and birth up to age 3 years has been constructed and will be extended to age 10 years. We use population-based individual-level regional data enriched with national register data on children and their parents (≈ 16 000 children aged 3 years in 2014 - 2021). Social-emotional problems are measured using the validated Ages & Stages Questionnaires: Social- Emotional. Analytical techniques will include epidemiological methods and health economic modelling.

Our findings will likely inform evidence-based cost-effective health promoting strategies and interventions for all children, with additional support to those identified as being potentially vulnerable. Thus, we will contribute with evidence for policymaking concerning child health promotion strategies and interventions. This will include how to use societal resources efficiently and effectively to promote health, prevent ill-health, and reduce social inequalities in health.

External funding

Latest update: 2022-11-09