Emotional and Behavioral Problems in Children and Adolescents: Assessment and Intervention

A topical collection in Children (ISSN 2227-9067). This collection belongs to the section "Child and Adolescent Psychiatry".

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Editors


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Guest Editor
IRCCS Fondazione Stella Maris, Pisa, Italy
Interests: children and adolescents with emotional and behavioral difficulties; children with disruptive behavior disorder; cognitive psychotherapy
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Co-Guest Editor
IRCCS Fondazione Stella Maris, Pisa, Italy
Interests: youths with disruptive behavior disorder; children with aggressive behavioral problems; emotional problems in children
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Topical Collection Information

Dear Colleagues,

Emotional (i.e., anxiety, mood disorders, peer problems) and behavioral (i.e., hyperactivity, conduct problems) issues are drastically increasing among children and adolescents. They present a hazard for youths’ well-being and development, frequently leading to persistent adverse outcomes. The current COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted the importance of addressing these burdensome problems. Therefore, the current Special Issue aims to gather original and interesting articles presenting the latest news about the assessment, prevention, and treatment of youths’ emotional and behavioral problems. We will also consider articles exploring the protective and risk factors of emotional and behavioral problems.

We invite both empirical studies and conceptual/theoretical contributions related to the above-described topics for this Special Issue. We are open to various theoretical, practical, and methodological perspectives, and hope that this Special Issue will be a multifaceted and stimulating collection of works with multiple perspectives. We strongly hope that this Special Issue will collect contributions from experts from different backgrounds, and we also highly encourage researchers from all subdisciplines in psychology and medicine to join.

We invite you to contribute your best work to this Special Issue.

Prof. Dr. Pietro Muratori
Guest Editor

Dr. Valentina Levantini
Co-Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • disruptive behavior
  • conduct
  • ADHD
  • diagnosis
  • intervention
  • parent
  • emotional problems
  • anxiety
  • mood disorders
  • peer problems
  • protective and risk factors

Published Papers (25 papers)

2024

Jump to: 2023, 2022, 2021

12 pages, 293 KiB  
Article
Parenting and Emotional and Behavioral Difficulties in a General Population Sample of Adolescents: The Mediating Role of Emotional Dysregulation
by Martina Smorti, Annarita Milone, Luisa Fanciullacci, Alessia Ciaravolo and Carmen Berrocal
Children 2024, 11(4), 435; https://doi.org/10.3390/children11040435 - 05 Apr 2024
Viewed by 466
Abstract
Research has shown that both parenting and emotional dysregulation are associated with mental health outcomes in youth. This cross-sectional research was developed to replicate these noted findings and explore the mediating role of emotional dysregulation to explain the relationship between parenting and emotional [...] Read more.
Research has shown that both parenting and emotional dysregulation are associated with mental health outcomes in youth. This cross-sectional research was developed to replicate these noted findings and explore the mediating role of emotional dysregulation to explain the relationship between parenting and emotional and behavioral difficulties (internalizing and externalizing problems) in adolescents. A total of 104 adolescents (61.5% females; M = 15.62 yrs., SD = 1.38) participated in the study. Participants completed the Parental Bonding Instrument (measuring care, promotion of autonomy, and overprotection) referring to both the mother and father, the Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale, and the Youth Self-Report. The results showed that difficulties in emotion regulation fully mediated the relationship between overprotection (in both parents) and low maternal care with internalizing problems, on the one hand, and the relationship between maternal overprotection and low care (in both parents) with externalizing problems, on the other hand. Furthermore, emotional dysregulation partially mediated the effect of paternal care on internalizing problems. These findings help to clarify one of the mechanisms through which parenting can affect mental health in youth. Theoretical and clinical implications are discussed. Full article
19 pages, 1187 KiB  
Article
The Factorial Structure, Psychometric Properties and Sensitivity to Change of the Distress Tolerance Scale for Children with Emotional Disorders
by Brígida Caiado, Diana Santos, Bárbara Pereira, Ana Carolina Góis, Maria Cristina Canavarro and Helena Moreira
Children 2024, 11(1), 115; https://doi.org/10.3390/children11010115 - 17 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1148
Abstract
Background. The Distress Tolerance Scale (DTS) was adapted for American and Chinese youth, but never for European youth. Moreover, the factor structures found in these previous studies were not consistent. Methods. The DTS was adapted for Portuguese children and then validated among 153 [...] Read more.
Background. The Distress Tolerance Scale (DTS) was adapted for American and Chinese youth, but never for European youth. Moreover, the factor structures found in these previous studies were not consistent. Methods. The DTS was adapted for Portuguese children and then validated among 153 children aged 6–13 years with emotional disorders. A confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was conducted; the DTS reliability and validity were analyzed, and sex and age differences were explored. A sub-sample of children who received a transdiagnostic CBT (Unified Protocol for Children) was used to analyze the DTS’s sensitivity to therapeutic change. Results. The five tested models (based on previous studies) exhibited adequate fit in the CFA. However, the model previously reported for use in American children with emotional disorders was selected as the most appropriate. The DTS demonstrated adequate psychometric properties, and its validity was established through significant negative associations with measures of anxiety, depression and negative affect, as well as positive associations with positive affect. Age and sex differences were discussed. The DTS scores significantly increased from pre- to post-treatment, demonstrating sensitivity to therapeutic change. Conclusions. The DTS is a suitable and useful measure for assessing children’s distress tolerance and to assess the efficacy of CBT. Full article
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2023

Jump to: 2024, 2022, 2021

11 pages, 321 KiB  
Article
The Dark Side of Multimedia Devices: Negative Consequences for Socioemotional Development in Early Childhood
by Bruno Rocha, Laura I. Ferreira, Cátia Martins, Rita Santos and Cristina Nunes
Children 2023, 10(11), 1807; https://doi.org/10.3390/children10111807 - 14 Nov 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1462
Abstract
There is growing concern about the relationship between screen use by young children and negative effects on their development, as children with developmental and socioemotional impairments tend to have difficulties in their relationships and increased academic problems. The aim of our study was [...] Read more.
There is growing concern about the relationship between screen use by young children and negative effects on their development, as children with developmental and socioemotional impairments tend to have difficulties in their relationships and increased academic problems. The aim of our study was to analyse the relationship between the use of multimedia devices and paediatric symptoms in children below 5 years old. Data from 534 Portuguese parents of children aged from 18 to 57 months were collected via a self-report questionnaire. Children’s daily exposure to multimedia devices was nearly 2 h per day. Paediatric symptoms were positively associated with watching television and screen time and negatively associated with parents’ working hours. Touchscreen use was more frequent among girls and older children. Parents’ working hours comprised the most significant predictor of paediatric symptoms. Our findings reinforce past findings on the adverse links between the use of multimedia devices and paediatric symptoms and also highlight the influence of other variables like the child’s age and gender, as well as parental factors. The need to both create a more comprehensive framework regarding the long-term effects of multimedia device use and delineate effective strategies for prevention and intervention with parents and children is discussed. Full article
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11 pages, 733 KiB  
Article
The Contribution of Bullying Involvement and Alexithymia to Somatic Complaints in Preadolescents
by Valentina Levantini, Marina Camodeca and Nicolò Maria Iannello
Children 2023, 10(5), 905; https://doi.org/10.3390/children10050905 - 21 May 2023
Viewed by 1262
Abstract
Somatic complaints during preadolescence are connected to individual and contextual factors, and extant research highlights the relevance of alexithymia and bullying involvement. In this cross-sectional study, we explored the joint and unique influence of bullying involvement—as perpetrators, victims, or outsiders—and alexithymia on somatic [...] Read more.
Somatic complaints during preadolescence are connected to individual and contextual factors, and extant research highlights the relevance of alexithymia and bullying involvement. In this cross-sectional study, we explored the joint and unique influence of bullying involvement—as perpetrators, victims, or outsiders—and alexithymia on somatic complaints in a sample of 179 Italian middle-school students (aged 11–15). Findings revealed an indirect association between bullying perpetration and victimization complaints through alexithymia. We also found a significant direct association between victimization and somatic complaints. No significant association between outsider behavior and somatization was found. Our results revealed that bullying perpetration and victimization could increase youths’ risk for somatic complaints and clarify one of the processes underlying this association. The current findings further emphasize the relevance of emotional awareness for youths’ well-being and propose that implementing social–emotional skills might prevent some of the adverse consequences of being involved in bullying episodes. Full article
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11 pages, 521 KiB  
Article
The Impact of Working Memory on the Development of Social Play in Japanese Preschool Children: Emotion Knowledge as a Mediator
by Hisayo Shimizu
Children 2023, 10(3), 524; https://doi.org/10.3390/children10030524 - 08 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1523
Abstract
Through enriched play, children learn social-emotional skills necessary for academic achievement and interpersonal relationships with others. Further research is needed on how specific factors associated with social play, such as working memory and emotion knowledge, interact to promote it. Previous studies have examined [...] Read more.
Through enriched play, children learn social-emotional skills necessary for academic achievement and interpersonal relationships with others. Further research is needed on how specific factors associated with social play, such as working memory and emotion knowledge, interact to promote it. Previous studies have examined the association of working memory and emotion knowledge with social play. However, there are no consistent results as to which abilities influence which skills first. Thus, the present study examines the impact of working memory on the development of social play and the role of emotion knowledge in the relationship between working memory and social play. Forty-seven Japanese preschoolers were tested on working memory, social play, and emotion knowledge. Regression analysis indicated that working memory was significantly related to social play. Furthermore, mediation analysis indicated that emotion recognition mediates the effects of working memory on social play. Working memory was found to contribute to social play by improving emotion recognition in children. These results indicate that the pathway from working memory to social play is mediated by emotion recognition and expands previous perspectives on the developmental mechanisms of emotion knowledge in children. Full article
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16 pages, 346 KiB  
Article
Relations between Positive Parenting Behavior during Play and Child Language Development at Early Ages
by Magda Rivero, Rosa Vilaseca, María-José Cantero, Clara Valls-Vidal and David Leiva
Children 2023, 10(3), 505; https://doi.org/10.3390/children10030505 - 03 Mar 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2935
Abstract
Parental behavior in interactions with children has been related to child language development. Our study contributes to the literature about relations between the characteristics of parent–child interactions during play and a child’s language development in typically developing children at early ages, with data [...] Read more.
Parental behavior in interactions with children has been related to child language development. Our study contributes to the literature about relations between the characteristics of parent–child interactions during play and a child’s language development in typically developing children at early ages, with data from mothers and fathers from the same families in Spain. Our aim was to analyze the relation between positive parenting behaviors assessed with the Spanish version of the Parenting Interactions with Children: Checklist of Observations Linked to Outcomes (PICCOLO) and child language development assessed with the Bayley-III scales. We controlled for some sociodemographic variables. The participants were 90 children aged 15–31 months and their mothers and fathers. Bivariate analysis showed significant positive relations between mothers’ responsive, encouraging and teaching behaviors and a child’s language scores. Relations were found between fathers’ encouraging and teaching behaviors and a child’s language. Regression models indicate that maternal and paternal encouraging behaviors predicted 18% of the variability in the child’s receptive language, and maternal responsive and teaching behaviors predicted 16% of the variability in the child’s expressive language and total language scores. The study provides new data that support the relevance of positive parental behaviors to improve a child’s linguistic development. Full article
14 pages, 968 KiB  
Article
Social Media in Adolescents: A Retrospective Correlational Study on Addiction
by Rebecca Ciacchini, Graziella Orrù, Elisa Cucurnia, Silvia Sabbatini, Francesca Scafuto, Alessandro Lazzarelli, Mario Miccoli, Angelo Gemignani and Ciro Conversano
Children 2023, 10(2), 278; https://doi.org/10.3390/children10020278 - 31 Jan 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 7822
Abstract
Considering the growing interest in the possible effects of internet’s addiction on adoles-cent’s mental health, this study aimed at exploring the psychological correlates of social media and internet problematic use during the first year of the covid-19 pandemic. A cross-sectional study was conducted [...] Read more.
Considering the growing interest in the possible effects of internet’s addiction on adoles-cent’s mental health, this study aimed at exploring the psychological correlates of social media and internet problematic use during the first year of the covid-19 pandemic. A cross-sectional study was conducted in a sample of secondary school students (N = 258); participants were asked to complete an online survey, investigating social media addiction (BSMAS), self-esteem (RSES), feelings of isolation (CSIQ-A) and anxiety (STAI-Y). Data analysis (descriptive statistics, correlational and regression analyses) was conducted through XLSTAT software ©. An additional ad hoc questionnaire was administrated. Findings showed that the 11% of the participants were significantly addicted to social media, mostly females (59%). Gender represented an exposure factor for the hours spent on social media and the checking activity while performing other daily activities. Significant correlations emerged between the self-report measure of social media addiction and self-esteem and anxiety. Low scores at RSES corresponded to higher checking activity, hours spent on social networks, and playing videogames that were investigated as supplementary indicators of addiction with ad hoc questionnaire. The regression analysis showed just two predictors of social media addiction, gender (female) and trait anxiety. Limitations and implications of the study were argued in order to give some indications for future programs. Full article
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12 pages, 796 KiB  
Article
Protective Role of Self-Regulatory Efficacy: A Moderated Mediation Model on the Influence of Impulsivity on Cyberbullying through Moral Disengagement
by Marinella Paciello, Giuseppe Corbelli, Ileana Di Pomponio and Luca Cerniglia
Children 2023, 10(2), 219; https://doi.org/10.3390/children10020219 - 26 Jan 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1892
Abstract
During online interactions, adolescents are often exposed to deviant opportunities. In this context, the capacity to regulate one’s behavior is essential to prevent cyberbullying. Among adolescents, this online aggressive behavior is a growing phenomenon, and its deleterious effects on teenagers’ mental health are [...] Read more.
During online interactions, adolescents are often exposed to deviant opportunities. In this context, the capacity to regulate one’s behavior is essential to prevent cyberbullying. Among adolescents, this online aggressive behavior is a growing phenomenon, and its deleterious effects on teenagers’ mental health are well known. The present work argues the importance of self-regulatory capabilities under deviant peer pressure in preventing cyberbullying. In particular, focusing on two relevant risk factors, i.e., impulsivity and moral disengagement, we examine (1) the mediation role of moral disengagement in the process leading to cyberbullying from impulsivity; (2) the buffering effect of the perceived self-regulatory capability to resist deviant peer pressure in mitigating the effect of these impulsive and social–cognitive dimensions on cyberbullying. Moderated mediation analysis was performed on a sample of 856 adolescents; the results confirm that the perceived self-regulatory capability to resist peer pressure effectively mitigates the indirect effect of impulsivity through moral disengagement on cyberbullying. The practical implications of designing interventions to make adolescents more aware and self-regulated in their online social lives to counter cyberbullying are discussed. Full article
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2022

Jump to: 2024, 2023, 2021

18 pages, 878 KiB  
Systematic Review
Internet and Video Games: Causes of Behavioral Disorders in Children and Teenagers
by Virginia Lérida-Ayala, José Manuel Aguilar-Parra, Rocío Collado-Soler, Marina Alférez-Pastor, Juan Miguel Fernández-Campoy and Antonio Luque-de la Rosa
Children 2023, 10(1), 86; https://doi.org/10.3390/children10010086 - 31 Dec 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 11052
Abstract
Even though video games have been present among children for many years, children are using them more continuously and in an abusive and indiscriminate way nowadays because of the “technological boom”. It is affecting the behavior of children and adolescents. This is the [...] Read more.
Even though video games have been present among children for many years, children are using them more continuously and in an abusive and indiscriminate way nowadays because of the “technological boom”. It is affecting the behavior of children and adolescents. This is the reason why we are carrying out this systematic review. The main objective of this article is to investigate literature that directly connects the continuous and undifferentiated use of video games with the emergence of behavioral disorders in children and young people. The PRISMA statement was followed in the process of this article. We used SCOPUS, Web of Science and PubMed as databases, moreover, we searched studies with a scoping review. The results indisputably supported six out of seven of our hypotheses. We find that the excessive use of video games causes addiction to technology, aggressive behaviors, sleep disorders, and poor school performance. In addition, it hinders social relationships and the development of emotional intelligence. To conclude, it is necessary to correctly use video games in particular, and technologies in general, adapting their content to children’s age, as well as the amount of time that they dedicate to use them. Full article
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7 pages, 225 KiB  
Case Report
Neurodevelopmental Disorders, Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorders and Catatonia: The “Iron Triangle” Rediscovered in a Case Report
by Pamela Fantozzi, Claudia Del Grande, Stefano Berloffa, Greta Tolomei, Carmen Salluce, Antonio Narzisi, Gianluca Salarpi, Barbara Capovani and Gabriele Masi
Children 2023, 10(1), 77; https://doi.org/10.3390/children10010077 - 30 Dec 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1779
Abstract
Catatonia is a complex neuropsychiatric syndrome, occurring in the context of different psychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders, in neurological and medical disorders, and after substance abuse or withdrawal. The relationship between Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorders (SSDs) and catatonia has been previously [...] Read more.
Catatonia is a complex neuropsychiatric syndrome, occurring in the context of different psychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders, in neurological and medical disorders, and after substance abuse or withdrawal. The relationship between Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorders (SSDs) and catatonia has been previously discussed, with the three disorders interpreted as different manifestations of the same underlying brain disorder (the “Iron Triangle”). We discuss in this paper the diagnostic, clinical and therapeutic implications of this complex relationship in an adolescent with ASD, who presented an acute psychotic onset with catatonia, associated with mixed mood symptoms. Second-generation antipsychotics were used to manage psychotic, behavioral and affective symptoms, with worsening of the catatonic symptoms. In this clinical condition, antipsychotics may be useful at the lowest dosages, with increases only in the acute phases, especially when benzodiazepines are ineffective. Mood stabilizers with higher GABAergic effects (such as Valproate and Gabapentin) and Lithium salts may be more useful and well tolerated, given the frequent association of depressive and manic symptoms with mixed features. Full article
8 pages, 262 KiB  
Article
Callous–Unemotional Traits and Intelligence in Children with Externalizing Behavioral Problems
by Pamela Fantozzi, Pietro Muratori, Valentina Levantini, Irene Mammarella, Gabriele Masi, Annarita Milone, Alessia Petrucci, Federica Ricci, Annalisa Tacchi, Chiara Cristofani and Elena Valente
Children 2022, 9(11), 1768; https://doi.org/10.3390/children9111768 - 17 Nov 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1141
Abstract
Research on the association between callous–unemotional (CU) traits and intelligence yielded contradictory results. Moreover, several previous studies focused on global intelligence scores or verbal vs. nonverbal/performance abilities usually evaluated with short/abbreviated instruments. The current study builds on these previous works and explores the [...] Read more.
Research on the association between callous–unemotional (CU) traits and intelligence yielded contradictory results. Moreover, several previous studies focused on global intelligence scores or verbal vs. nonverbal/performance abilities usually evaluated with short/abbreviated instruments. The current study builds on these previous works and explores the link between CU traits and intelligence using the full version of the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children—4th Edition (WISC-IV), which provides four different verbal and nonverbal abilities scores. This guarantees a more detailed evaluation of children’s intelligence and its relation to CU traits. The sample included children (N = 149; age 6–14 years old) with severe behavioral problems. Clinicians administered the WISC-IV, and parents completed questionnaires evaluating the child’s externalizing problems and CU traits. Findings showed that CU traits were associated with lower verbal comprehension scores after also controlling for gender, age, externalizing problems, and the other WISC-IV indexes. In addition, CU traits and externalizing problems did not interact in predicting the WISC-IV indexes, and there were no significant differences in the WISC-IV indexes between children with CU traits and high vs. low externalizing problems. The current study suggests the relevance of assessing and addressing verbal abilities in children with behavioral problems and CU traits. Full article
12 pages, 494 KiB  
Article
Psychoeducation Reduces Alexithymia and Modulates Anger Expression in a School Setting
by Salvatore Iuso, Melania Severo, Antonio Ventriglio, Antonello Bellomo, Pierpaolo Limone and Annamaria Petito
Children 2022, 9(9), 1418; https://doi.org/10.3390/children9091418 - 19 Sep 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2307
Abstract
Bullying and violence are relevant issues in school settings and negatively impact students’ well-being and mental health. Psychoeducation and anti-bullying programs may prevent violence among students by addressing emotional expression and regulation, alexithymia, and anger. We describe the impact of a psychoeducational intervention [...] Read more.
Bullying and violence are relevant issues in school settings and negatively impact students’ well-being and mental health. Psychoeducation and anti-bullying programs may prevent violence among students by addressing emotional expression and regulation, alexithymia, and anger. We describe the impact of a psychoeducational intervention delivered to 90 male and 101 female school youths (N = 191), aged 12–14 years old, and aimed to improve their emotional recognition and regulation, as well as to reduce alexithymia in order to prevent aggression and bullying episodes. A psychological assessment has been performed before (T0) and after (T1) the intervention including levels of alexithymia, measured with the Toronto Alexithymia Scale-20 (TAS-20), the State-Trait Anger Expression Inventory (STAXI), Empathy Quotient (EQ), and the Emotion Regulation Questionnaire (ERQ). Females have shown higher levels of alexithymia at baseline whereas other characteristics (anger, empathy quotient and emotional regulation) did not differ among sex groups. The psychoeducational program significantly increased the empathy quotient (+10.2%), the emotional regulation reappraisal (+20.3%), and the assertive anger expression (+10.9%); alexithymia significantly decreased after the intervention in all the samples (−14.4%), above all among students scoring ≥61 at TAS-20 (−48.2%). Limitations include a small sample from a single school setting, the lack of a control group without psychoeducation, and an assessment based on self-reported measures. We may conclude that psychoeducation has significantly reduced levels of alexithymia and improved empathy and emotional regulation among adolescents. Full article
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11 pages, 1014 KiB  
Article
Internet Gaming Disorder in Children and Adolescents with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
by Stefano Berloffa, Andrea Salvati, Giulia D’Acunto, Pamela Fantozzi, Emanuela Inguaggiato, Francesca Lenzi, Annarita Milone, Pietro Muratori, Chiara Pfanner, Federica Ricci, Laura Ruglioni, Annalisa Tacchi, Chiara Tessa, Arianna Villafranca and Gabriele Masi
Children 2022, 9(3), 428; https://doi.org/10.3390/children9030428 - 18 Mar 2022
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 4391
Abstract
Although Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has been related to an increased risk for behavioral addictions, the relationship between ADHD and Internet Gaming Disorder (IGD) is still debated. The aim of this study is to address this topic by exploring the prevalence of [...] Read more.
Although Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has been related to an increased risk for behavioral addictions, the relationship between ADHD and Internet Gaming Disorder (IGD) is still debated. The aim of this study is to address this topic by exploring the prevalence of IGD in a consecutive sample of ADHD youth, compared to a normal control group, and by assessing selected psychopathological and cognitive features in ADHD patients with and without IGD. One hundred and eight patients with ADHD (mean age 11.7 ± 2.6 years, 96 males) and 147 normal controls (NC) (mean age 13.9 ± 3.0 years, 114 males) were included in the study and received structured measures for IGD. In the ADHD group, 44% of the sample were above the IGD cut-off, compared to 9.5% in the NC group. ADHD patients with IGD presented with greater severity and impairment, more severe ADHD symptomatology, more internalizing symptoms, particularly withdrawal/depression and socialization problems, and more prominence of addiction and evasion dimensions. A binary logistic regression showed that the degree of inattention presented a greater weight in determining IGD. These findings may be helpful for identifying, among ADHD patients, those at higher risk for developing a superimposed IGD. Full article
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11 pages, 1470 KiB  
Article
A Protective Factor for Emotional and Behavioral Problems in Children: The Parental Humor
by Benito León-del-Barco, Santiago Mendo-Lázaro, María-Isabel Polo-del-Río, Fernando Fajardo-Bullón and Víctor-María López-Ramos
Children 2022, 9(3), 404; https://doi.org/10.3390/children9030404 - 11 Mar 2022
Viewed by 2713
Abstract
In order to prevent the development of emotional and behavioral problems, risk and protective factors must be identified. This study aims to establish a link between perceived parental humor and children mental health. The sample comprises 762 pupils aged 10 to 15 (M [...] Read more.
In order to prevent the development of emotional and behavioral problems, risk and protective factors must be identified. This study aims to establish a link between perceived parental humor and children mental health. The sample comprises 762 pupils aged 10 to 15 (M = 12.23; SD = 1.12), who completed self-reports evaluating perceived parental humor (EEE-H) and their own emotional and behavioral strengths and difficulties (SDQ). The results indicate that parental humor is negatively associated with internalizing problems in children; no association with externalizing problems is observed. According to the study, girls who perceive low parental humor are the most likely to display internalizing problems, while girls perceiving high parental humor are the least likely to do so. Parental humor, characterized by calmness, cheerfulness, and optimism, is a protective factor against internalizing problems in children, especially girls. We recommend training for parents and training and intervention programs for families to encourage activities that boost parental humor. Full article
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18 pages, 823 KiB  
Article
Do Metacognitions of Children and Adolescents with Anxiety Disorders Change after Intensified Exposure Therapy?
by Laura Marie Köcher, Verena Pflug, Silvia Schneider and Hanna Christiansen
Children 2022, 9(2), 168; https://doi.org/10.3390/children9020168 - 28 Jan 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2904
Abstract
Metacognitive beliefs have repeatedly proven to play a role in anxiety disorders in children and adolescents, but few studies have investigated whether they change after cognitive behavioral therapy. This longitudinal intervention study explores whether positive and negative metacognitive beliefs in particular change after [...] Read more.
Metacognitive beliefs have repeatedly proven to play a role in anxiety disorders in children and adolescents, but few studies have investigated whether they change after cognitive behavioral therapy. This longitudinal intervention study explores whether positive and negative metacognitive beliefs in particular change after exposure-focused treatment, and if metacognitive changes predict reductions in anxiety symptoms. A sample of 27 children between 8 and 16 years of age with a primary diagnosis of specific phobia, separation-anxiety disorder or social phobia completed assessments of anxiety symptoms, metacognitive beliefs, worry and repetitive negative thoughts before and after 11 sessions of intensified exposure treatment. Metacognitive beliefs did not change significantly after intensified exposure, but post-hoc power analysis revealed a lack of power here. Change in negative metacognitive beliefs correlated with a change in anxiety symptoms, but did not independently contribute as a predictor variable. Differences between subsamples showed that patients with separation-anxiety disorder scored higher on negative metacognitive beliefs than those with specific or social phobia. Consideration of metacognition, and negative metacognitive beliefs in particular could help us further improve the understanding and treatment of anxiety disorders in children and adolescents and should therefore receive more attention in psychotherapy research. Full article
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15 pages, 956 KiB  
Article
How Do Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Children with Developmental Delays Differ on the Child Behavior Checklist 1.5–5 DSM-Oriented Scales?
by Yi-Ling Cheng, Ching-Lin Chu and Chin-Chin Wu
Children 2022, 9(1), 111; https://doi.org/10.3390/children9010111 - 14 Jan 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2457
Abstract
The Child Behavior Checklist 1.5–5 (CBCL 1.5–5) is applied to identify emotional and behavioral problems on children with developmental disabilities (e.g., autism spectrum disorder [ASD] and developmental delays [DD]). To understand whether there are variations between these two groups on CBCL DSM-oriented scales, [...] Read more.
The Child Behavior Checklist 1.5–5 (CBCL 1.5–5) is applied to identify emotional and behavioral problems on children with developmental disabilities (e.g., autism spectrum disorder [ASD] and developmental delays [DD]). To understand whether there are variations between these two groups on CBCL DSM-oriented scales, we took two invariance analyses on 443 children (228 children with ASD). The first analysis used measurement invariance and multiple-group factor analysis on the test structure. The second analysis used item-level analysis, i.e., differential item functioning (DIF), to discover whether group memberships responded differently on some items even though underlying trait levels were the same. It was discovered that, on the test structure, the Anxiety Problems scale did not achieve metric invariance. The other scales achieved metric invariance; DIF analyses further revealed that there were items that functioned differently across subscales. These DIF items were mostly about children’s reactions to the surrounding environment. Our findings provide implications for clinicians to use CBCL DSM-oriented scales on differentiating children with ASD and children with DD. In addition, researchers need to be mindful about how items were responded differently, even though there were no mean differences on the surface. Full article
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2021

Jump to: 2024, 2023, 2022

16 pages, 450 KiB  
Article
A Meta-Analysis of the Current State of Evidence of the Incredible Years Teacher-Classroom Management Program
by Rachel Korest and John S. Carlson
Children 2022, 9(1), 24; https://doi.org/10.3390/children9010024 - 30 Dec 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2229
Abstract
This meta-analysis evaluated the current state of evidence and identified potential treatment moderators of the Incredible Years Teacher Classroom Management (IYTCM) program used to reduce externalizing and internalizing behaviors in school-aged children. Inclusion criteria involved published studies between 1984–2018 and examining the effects [...] Read more.
This meta-analysis evaluated the current state of evidence and identified potential treatment moderators of the Incredible Years Teacher Classroom Management (IYTCM) program used to reduce externalizing and internalizing behaviors in school-aged children. Inclusion criteria involved published studies between 1984–2018 and examining the effects of IYTCM as a standalone program on teacher and/or child behavioral outcomes. We identified and narratively summarized potential moderators, which included the severity of child behavior, dosage, study design, and reporting methods. Overall, effect sizes revealed IYTCM had moderate positive effects on teachers and small positive effects on children. Narrative summaries indicated larger effect sizes in higher dosage studies and higher risk children. The results align with previous systematic reviews on the Incredible Years Parent Training (IYPT) program but this is the first study to look at the teacher training program. Overall, IYTCM seems to be an effective intervention; however, what components of this program work best, for whom, and under what conditions require further empirical investigation. Full article
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14 pages, 288 KiB  
Article
The Impact of Extended E-Learning on Emotional Well-Being of Students during the COVID-19 Pandemic in Saudi Arabia
by Sehar-un-Nisa Hassan, Fahad D. Algahtani, Mohammad Raafat Atteya, Ali A. Almishaal, Ahmed A. Ahmed, Sofian T. Obeidat, Reham Mohamed Kamel and Rania Fathy Mohamed
Children 2022, 9(1), 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/children9010013 - 27 Dec 2021
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 5137
Abstract
Educational institutions in Saudi Arabia extended e-learning until the third semester of the academic calendar to prevent the spread of COVID-19 infection and to achieve 70% inoculation for the Saudi population. This study assesses the impact of extended e-learning and other associated stressors [...] Read more.
Educational institutions in Saudi Arabia extended e-learning until the third semester of the academic calendar to prevent the spread of COVID-19 infection and to achieve 70% inoculation for the Saudi population. This study assesses the impact of extended e-learning and other associated stressors on the emotional health of university students in Saudi Arabia. An online cross-sectional survey collected data between the months of January–March 2021. The emotional signs of stress were measured by using a subset of items from the COVID-19 Adolescent Symptom and Psychological Experience Questionnaire (CASPE). Data about demographic variables, educational characteristics and academic performance were also collected. A regression analysis was performed to determine predictors of emotional health. A total of 434 university students including females (63%) and males (37%) provided responses. One-third of students (33%) indicated that the COVID-19 pandemic and its resulting changes including online distance studies greatly influenced their daily lives in a negative way. The regression analysis demonstrated that female students and students with average academic performance had increased vulnerability to experience emotional signs of stress (p < 0.05). The factors ‘Not going to university’ and ‘Not having a routine life’ were significant predictors of stress responses (p < 0.01) and (p < 0.001) respectively. E-learning during the COVID-19 pandemic made it possible for students to complete their studies as per academic calendar; simultaneously, it increased the vulnerability to experience stress, particularly for female students and students with average academic performance. These findings imply that academic advising and counseling services should be more readily available during digital studies to support at risk students. Full article
18 pages, 517 KiB  
Article
Digital Identities of Young People from the South of Spain: An Online Sexual Differentiation
by E. Begoña García-Navarro, Jose Luis Gil Bermejo and Miriam Araujo-Hernández
Children 2021, 8(12), 1179; https://doi.org/10.3390/children8121179 - 14 Dec 2021
Viewed by 2273
Abstract
Through a mixed methodological approach, we want to know how adolescents aged between 14 and 16 years from the south of Spain express and identify themselves on social networks, with respect to their sex. As such differences can determine gender inequality, we will [...] Read more.
Through a mixed methodological approach, we want to know how adolescents aged between 14 and 16 years from the south of Spain express and identify themselves on social networks, with respect to their sex. As such differences can determine gender inequality, we will analyse differences between females and males regarding the expression of identity on social networks. Analysis of obtained results demonstrates that many relevant attributes still emerge such as the socio-cultural representation of gender as sex in social networks. Differences emerged between the identity expressions of females and males which can generate inequalities favouring females and males. This implies a series of repercussions and, ultimately, defines the so-called digital gender divide. Taking into account these results we could intervene in the population of children to carry out prevention activities focused on social networks. Full article
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15 pages, 488 KiB  
Article
Assessment of Oral Skills in Adolescents
by Marta Gràcia, Jesús M. Alvarado and Silvia Nieva
Children 2021, 8(12), 1136; https://doi.org/10.3390/children8121136 - 04 Dec 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 4792
Abstract
There is broad consensus on the need to foster oral skills in middle school due to their inherent importance and because they serve as a tool for learning and acquiring other competences. In order to facilitate the assessment of communicative competence, we hereby [...] Read more.
There is broad consensus on the need to foster oral skills in middle school due to their inherent importance and because they serve as a tool for learning and acquiring other competences. In order to facilitate the assessment of communicative competence, we hereby propose a model which establishes five key dimensions for effective oral communication: interaction management; multimodality and prosody; textual coherence and cohesion; argumentative strategies; and lexicon and terminology. Based on this model, we developed indicators to measure the proposed dimensions, thus generating a self-report tool to assess oral communication in middle school. Following an initial study conducted with 168 students (mean age = 12.47 years, SD = 0.41), we selected 22 items with the highest discriminant power, while in a second study carried out with a sample of 960 students (mean age 14.11 years, SD = 0.97), we obtained evidence concerning factorial validity and the relationships between oral skills, emotional intelligence and metacognitive strategies related to metacomprehension. We concluded that the proposed model and its derived measure constitute an instrument with good psychometric properties for a reliable and valid assessment of students’ oral competence in middle school. Full article
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8 pages, 409 KiB  
Article
Psychometric Properties of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire-Dysregulation Profile in Italian Early Adolescents
by Valentina Levantini, Eleonora Cei, Gennarina Pirri and Pietro Muratori
Children 2021, 8(12), 1123; https://doi.org/10.3390/children8121123 - 03 Dec 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2250
Abstract
Emotional dysregulation is of great cause for concern because it is associated with severe outcomes. Currently, the identification of youths with signs of emotional and behavioral dysregulation is obtained through the assessment of a Dysregulation Profile (DP), including the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire-DP [...] Read more.
Emotional dysregulation is of great cause for concern because it is associated with severe outcomes. Currently, the identification of youths with signs of emotional and behavioral dysregulation is obtained through the assessment of a Dysregulation Profile (DP), including the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire-DP (SDQ-DP). Despite its increasingly frequent use in research, studies exploring the SDQ-DP properties are still limited, and no study with Italian samples is currently available. The current study aimed to explore the psychometric properties of the SDQ-DP parent-report and its association with difficulties in the school context in a sample of 332 Italian early adolescents. Results showed that the SDQ-DP parent-report is a single-factor measure with good internal consistency. Also, in both males and females, the SDQ-DP parent-report was associated with higher teacher-reported Internalizing (e.g., anxious symptoms) and Externalizing Problems (e.g., hyperactivity, conduct problems) and lower Prosocial Behavior. This study added further evidence about the utility of the SDQ-DP in the assessment, prevention, and treatment of emotional dysregulation. Full article
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14 pages, 335 KiB  
Article
Jealousy, Violence, and Sexual Ambivalence in Adolescent Students According to Emotional Dependency in the Couple Relationship
by Félix Arbinaga, María Isabel Mendoza-Sierra, Belén María Caraballo-Aguilar, Irene Buiza-Calzadilla, Lidia Torres-Rosado, Miriam Bernal-López, Julia García-Martínez and Eduardo José Fernández-Ozcorta
Children 2021, 8(11), 993; https://doi.org/10.3390/children8110993 - 02 Nov 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 4888
Abstract
Background: Emotional dependency in couples involves excessive and dysfunctional emotional bonding. Aims: This work aimed to determine the relationship between violence, jealousy, and ambivalent sexism according to emotional dependence in adolescent student couples. Methods: A cross-sectional study. A total of 234 Spanish adolescents [...] Read more.
Background: Emotional dependency in couples involves excessive and dysfunctional emotional bonding. Aims: This work aimed to determine the relationship between violence, jealousy, and ambivalent sexism according to emotional dependence in adolescent student couples. Methods: A cross-sectional study. A total of 234 Spanish adolescents (69.7% female, Mage = 16.77, SD = 1.11) participated in the study. Participants completed an ad hoc interview and several validated tests (Partner’s Emotional Dependency Scale, the Ambivalent Sexism Inventory, the Jealousy subscale of the Love Addiction Scale, the Conflict in Adolescent Dating Relationship Inventory). Results: Of the sample, 40.6% indicated high emotional dependence and 14.5% extreme emotional dependence. Differences were observed according to gender (t = 3.92, p < 0.001), with adolescent boys scoring higher than adolescent girls. Extremely emotionally dependent participants showed differences in both violence (sexual, relational, verbal, and physical) and ambivalent sexism (hostile, benevolent) and jealousy scores. Generating a predictive model of emotional dependence, with the variable jealousy and ambivalent sexism as predictor variables, it was found that jealousy has the greatest predictive and major explanatory capacity (R2 = 0.297); with an R2 = 0.334. However, the contribution of the ASI-Hostile subscale was not significant when the ASI-Benevolent subscale was introduced into the model. Further, in a second model where the scores on jealousy and the couple conflict inventory’s subscales were considered as predictors, are again jealousy makes the greatest predictive contribution and shows the greatest explanatory capacity (R2 = 0.296). It was found that the contribution is significant only for the predictive capacity of Sexual Violence and Relational Violence. In this sense, the educational context is one of the propitious places to detect and correct behaviors that may be indicative of potentially unbalanced and unbalancing relationships for adolescents. Full article
10 pages, 814 KiB  
Article
The Effect of Antibiotic Treatment of Early Childhood Shigellosis on Long-Term Prevalence of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
by Yair Sadaka, Judah Freedman, Shai Ashkenazi, Shlomo Vinker, Avivit Golan-Cohen, Ilan Green, Ariel Israel, Alal Eran and Eugene Merzon
Children 2021, 8(10), 880; https://doi.org/10.3390/children8100880 - 02 Oct 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1703
Abstract
It has recently been shown that children with early shigellosis are at increased risk of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This study aimed to evaluate the association between antibiotic treatment of shigellosis with long-term ADHD rates. A retrospective cohort study was conducted that included [...] Read more.
It has recently been shown that children with early shigellosis are at increased risk of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This study aimed to evaluate the association between antibiotic treatment of shigellosis with long-term ADHD rates. A retrospective cohort study was conducted that included all the Leumit Health Services (LHS) enrollees aged 5–18 years between 2000–2018 with a documented Shigella-positive gastroenteritis before the age of 3 years. Of the 5176 children who were positive for Shigella gastroenteritis before the age of 3 years, 972 (18.8%) were treated with antibiotics early (<5 days), 250 (4.8%) were treated late (≥5 days), and 3954 children (76.4%) were not prescribed antibiotics. Late antibiotic treatment was associated with significantly increased rates of ADHD (adjusted OR = 1.61; 95% CI, 1.1–2.3). Early treatment with antibiotics was not associated with increased ADHD rates (adjusted OR = 1.02; 95% CI, 0.8–1.3). In conclusion, late antibiotic treatment of early childhood shigellosis was associated with increased rates of ADHD. Full article
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13 pages, 663 KiB  
Article
Does Maternal Mental Health and Maternal Stress Affect Preschoolers’ Behavioral Symptoms?
by María Pía Santelices, Matías Irarrázaval, Pamela Jervis, Cristian Brotfeld, Carla Cisterna and Ana María Gallardo
Children 2021, 8(9), 816; https://doi.org/10.3390/children8090816 - 16 Sep 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2717
Abstract
(1) Background: Maternal stress and depression are considered risk factors in children’s socioemotional development, also showing high prevalence worldwide. (2) Method: Participants correspond to a longitudinal sample of 6335 mother/child pairs (18–72 months), who were surveyed in 2010 and then in 2012. The [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Maternal stress and depression are considered risk factors in children’s socioemotional development, also showing high prevalence worldwide. (2) Method: Participants correspond to a longitudinal sample of 6335 mother/child pairs (18–72 months), who were surveyed in 2010 and then in 2012. The hypothesis was tested with SEM analysis, setting the child’s internalized/externalized problems as dependent variable, maternal depression as independent variable, and stress as a partial mediator. (3) Results: Both depression during pregnancy and recent depression has not only a direct effect on the internalizing and externalizing symptomatology of the child, but also an indirect effect through parental stress. Significant direct and indirect relationships were found. (4) Conclusions: Maternal depression and the presence of parental stress can influence children’s behavioral problems, both internalizing and externalizing. Full article
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18 pages, 1040 KiB  
Article
Measurement of Behavioral Emotion Regulation Strategies in Early Childhood: The Early Emotion Regulation Behavior Questionnaire (EERBQ)
by Nicole B. Perry and Jessica M. Dollar
Children 2021, 8(9), 779; https://doi.org/10.3390/children8090779 - 06 Sep 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 9506
Abstract
The Early Emotion Regulation Behavior Questionnaire (EERBQ) assesses children’s emotion regulation (ER) behavioral strategies in both positive and negative emotional contexts. Psychometric properties and factor structure were tested in a sample of caregivers across the United States (N = 362) with children [...] Read more.
The Early Emotion Regulation Behavior Questionnaire (EERBQ) assesses children’s emotion regulation (ER) behavioral strategies in both positive and negative emotional contexts. Psychometric properties and factor structure were tested in a sample of caregivers across the United States (N = 362) with children ages 2–6 years-old (56% male; 73% White). Findings suggest that the EERBQ is psychometrically sound and correlates with other well-established measures of children’s socioemotional functioning. Previously, researchers have only been able to assess children’s emotional behavioral regulatory strategies in a laboratory setting. Thus, use of the EERBQ addresses a critical gap in the current literature by providing researchers and practitioners with an instrument to measure young children’s early emotional functioning outside of a laboratory context. This is particularly salient because early difficulty regulating emotions is often a precursor to persistent adverse developmental outcomes. Thus, the ability to easily to collect rich and predictive behavioral regulation data is imperative for early identification and treatment of youths’ emotional and behavioral problems. Full article
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