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Revista Paulista de Pediatria

Print version ISSN 0103-0582On-line version ISSN 1984-0462

Rev. paul. pediatr. vol.36 no.1 São Paulo Jan./Mar. 2018

http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/1984-0462/;2018;36;1;00018 

EDITORIAL

QUESTIONS RELATED TO SCREENING OF EMOTIONAL/BEHAVIORAL PROBLEMS IN PRESCHOOLERS

Marina Monzani da Rochaa  * 

aGraduation Program in Development Disorders, Universidade Presbiteriana Mackenzie, São Paulo, SP, Brazil.

The assessment of behavioral problems among preschoolers was considered controversial for a long time due to the fear of turning difficulties inherent to development into pathologies. However, the strategy of “wait and see” did not work for most of the cases1 and, currently, several studies show that the problems from the first childhood period may remain throughout life when without any intervention.2

The study of Santos and Celeri3 about screening mental health problems in preschool children, which was published in the current edition of Revista Paulista de Pediatria, was developed with the aim of favoring an early assessment in the context of essential health care. The authors reinforce the importance of cultural adaptation of instruments that have been developed in other countries to facilitate the early identification of problems,4 which results in better prognosis.

The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ)5 used by the authors3 is internationally recognized as a fast and effective instrument for screening the difficulties presented by children aged between 2 and 4. Emotional symptoms, conduct problems, hyperactivity/inattention, peer-relationship problems and prosocial behaviors are assessed based on the 25 items answered in a Likert scale. Results found by Santos and Celeri3 confirmed that the SDQ allows the identification of cases presenting problems within a “normal”, “borderline” or “abnormal” range in Brazil. In addition, they indicate significant and positive correlations between the scales of SDQ and preschool Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL/1.5-5),6 which is another internationally known instrument for the assessment of small children’s behavioral problems.

The SDQ may be useful to screen cases requiring a complete assessment to verify the presence of mental health problems and follow-up for intervention. However, it is noteworthy that the adherence of the health basic care team is a question to be overcome so the use of this kind of instrument is effective to screen problems and consequently to promote population’s health.

REFERENCES

1. Briggs-Gowan MJ, Carter A, Bosson-Heenan J, Guyer AE, Horwitz SM. Are infant-toddler social-emotional and behavior problems transiente. J Am Acad child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2006;45:849-58. [ Links ]

2. Basten M, Tiemeier H, Althoff R, Schoot RV, Jaddoe VW, Hofman A, et al. The stability of problem behavior across the preschool years: an empirical approach in the general population. J Abnorm Child Psychol. 2016;44:393-409. [ Links ]

3. Santos RGH, Celeri EHRV. Rastreamento de problemas de saúde mental em crianças pré-escolares, no contexto da atenção básica à saúde. Rev Paul Pediatr. 2018;36:82-90. [ Links ]

4. Duarte CS, Bordin IA. Instrumentos de avaliação. Rev Bras Psiquiatr. 2000;22(Suppl 2):55-8. [ Links ]

5. Goodman R. The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire: a research note. J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 1997;38:581-6. [ Links ]

6. Achenbach TM, Rescorla LA. Manual for the ASEBA School-Age Forms & Profiles. Burlington, VT: University of Vermont, Research Center for Children, Youth, & Families; 2000. [ Links ]

Funding: This study did not receive funding.

Received: September 27, 2017

*Corresponding author. E-mail: marinamonzani@gmail.com (M. M. Rocha).

Conflict of interests: The author declares no conflict of interests.

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