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Emotional and behavioural difficulties are more prevalent in 2–3-year-old children with developmental delay

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Is the prevalence of emotional and behavioural problems in 2–3-year-old children with developmental delay higher than that for children developing at an expected rate?


15 995 two- to three-year-old children born between September 2000 and January 2002 in the UK (Millennium Cohort Study: MCS) and children born between March 2003 and February 2004 in Australia (Longitudinal Study of Australian Children: LSAC). Both MCS and LSAC selected nationally representative samples of children.


Community dwelling families in the UK and Australia.


For both surveys, information was gathered from the mother and her partner (if available), and direct testing of the child. In the MCS, cognitive function was measured using the School Readiness Composite of the Bracken Basic Concept Scale and the Naming Vocabulary Subtest of the British Ability Scales II (BAS II). In the LSAC, the Learning Objectives Index (LOI) was used, and was based on the MacArthur Communications Development Inventory and Parents' Evaluations of Developmental Status scale. Emotional and behavioural difficulties were measured using the Total Problems Scale from the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ; MCS) and the Problem Scale of the Brief Infant Toddler Social Emotional Assessment Scale (BITSEA; LSAC). In both surveys, …

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  • Sources of funding Nuffield Foundation and Lancaster University.


  • Competing interests None.

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