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      Sociodemographic differences in 10-year time trends of emotional and behavioural problems among adolescents attending secondary schools in Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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          Abstract

          Societal change in western societies may impact emotional and behavioural problems of adolescents. Firm epidemiological evidence of changes in emotional and behavioural problems during the last decade is lacking. Insight into secular changes in emotional and behavioural problems among adolescents from various sociodemographic groups is crucial for adequate and targeted policy making. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine 10-year time trends in emotional and behavioural problems among adolescents, and potential differences in time trends between sociodemographic groups. Analyses were based on annually repeated cross-sectional data including 56,159 multi-ethnic students (13–14 years old) in the second year of various levels of secondary education in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, using the internationally validated Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire. In general, emotional and behavioural problems increased over a 10-year time period (i.e., relative increase of total difficulties by 19%). This increase was mainly due to an increase in hyperactivity/inattention problems, while peer-relationship problems decreased. Time trends differed somewhat by sex: total difficulties and emotional problems increased in girls but remained fairly stable in boys. In Amsterdam, emotional and behavioural problems in adolescents seemingly increased over time, especially hyperactivity/inattention problems. Further research is needed to clarify the underlying causes. We cannot totally exclude potential confounders underlying our findings. Our findings can inform policies to target health programs at sociodemographic groups at increased risk.

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          The online version of this article (10.1007/s00787-018-1157-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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          Most cited references 27

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          The extended version of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire as a guide to child psychiatric caseness and consequent burden.

          The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) is a brief behavioural screening questionnaire that asks about children's and teenagers' symptoms and positive attributes; the extended version also includes an impact supplement that asks if the respondent thinks the young person has a problem, and if so, enquires further about chronicity, distress, social impairment, and burden for others. Closely similar versions are completed by parents, teachers, and young people aged 11 or more. The validation study involved two groups of 5-15-year-olds: a community sample (N = 467) and a psychiatric clinic sample (N = 232). The two groups had markedly different distributions on the measures of perceived difficulties, impact (distress plus social impairment), and burden. Impact scores were better than symptom scores at discriminating between the community and clinic samples; discrimination based on the single "Is there a problem?" item was almost as good. The SDQ burden rating correlated well (r = .74) with a standardised interview rating of burden. For clinicians and researchers with an interest in psychiatric caseness and the determinants of service use, the impact supplement of the extended SDQ appears to provide useful additional information without taking up much more of respondents' time.
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            Dutch version of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ).

            A Dutch translation of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) was made. In the first wave of data collection, self-report data of 11- to 16-yearolds (N = 970) were collected on the SDQ and other measures of psychopathology. In the second wave of data collection, extended versions of the SDQ were completed by 11- to 16-year-olds (N = 268), by parents of 8- to 16-year-olds (N = 300) and by teachers of 8- to 12-year-olds (N = 208); in addition, the Child Behaviour Checklist (CBCL) was completed by the parents and the Youth Self Report (YSR) by the 11- to 16-year-olds. The results reveal that the internal consistency of the teacher SDQ is good; and the parent and self-report SDQ are generally acceptable and comparable with the internal consistencies of CBCL/YSR. The mean inter-informant product-moment correlations of the SDQ scales were satisfactory (parent-teacher 0.38; teacher-self-report 0.27; parent-self-report 0.35) and comparable with the mean inter-informant correlations of the CBCL and YSR (0.34). The inter-informant rank correlations of the impact questions were also satisfactory (mean parent-teacher 0.48; mean parent-self-report 0.24). Concurrent validity with the other measures of psychopathology used in the present study was good.
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              The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ)--further evidence for its reliability and validity in a community sample of Dutch children and adolescents.

              This study was a first attempt to examine the psychometric properties of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) in Dutch youths. A large sample of normal children and adolescents ( N = 562) and their parents completed the SDQ along with a number of other psychopathology measures. Factor analysis of the SDQ yielded five factors that were in keeping with the hypothesised subscales of hyperactivity-inattention, emotional symptoms, peer problems, conduct problems, and prosocial behaviour. Furthermore, internal consistency, test-retest stability, and parent-youth agreement of the various SDQ scales were acceptable. Finally, the concurrent validity of the SDQ was good: that is, its scores correlated in a theoretically meaningful way with other measures of psychopathology. It can be concluded that the psychometric properties of the parent- and self-report version of the SDQ were satisfactory in this Dutch community sample. Moreover, the current data provide further support for the utility of the SDQ as an index of psychopathological symptoms in youths.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                +31 20 555 5280 , lvvuuren@ggd.amsterdam.nl
                Journal
                Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry
                Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry
                European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
                Springer Berlin Heidelberg (Berlin/Heidelberg )
                1018-8827
                1435-165X
                26 April 2018
                26 April 2018
                2018
                : 27
                : 12
                : 1621-1631
                Affiliations
                [1 ]ISNI 0000 0000 9418 9094, GRID grid.413928.5, Department of Epidemiology, Health Promotion and Healthcare Innovation, , Public Health Service (GGD) Amsterdam, ; PO Box 2200, 1000 CE Amsterdam, The Netherlands
                [2 ]ISNI 0000 0004 0435 165X, GRID grid.16872.3a, Department of Public and Occupational Health, Amsterdam Public Health Research Institute, , VU University Medical Center, ; Van der Boechorststraat 7, 1081 BT Amsterdam, The Netherlands
                Article
                1157
                10.1007/s00787-018-1157-5
                6245132
                29700615
                © The Author(s) 2018

                Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

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                © Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

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