Associations between infant regulation and childhood mental health concerns in a large, prospective, community cohort

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Cook, F
Giallo, R
Hiscock, H
Mensah, F
Sanchez, K
Reilly, S
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2018
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Brisbane, Australia

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Abstract

Objective: To determine whether unique profiles of infant regulation (sleeping, crying, feeding problems) could be identified at 12 months of age, and if so, whether these were associated with mental health concerns at five and 11 years of age.

Study design: Infant regulation was examined at 12 months of age (n=1759), and data on child mental health symptoms was gathered at age five (n=1002) and 11 years (n=871), via a longitudinal community cohort study. Latent Class Analysis was used to examine regulation profiles and regression analyses examined associations with child mental health symptoms.

Results: Analyses identified five profiles of infant regulation, including those that were severely unsettled (3.4%), moderately unsettled (13.2%), had sleep problems (25.4%), tantrums (21.3%), or were settled (36.8%). Compared to the settled group, children in the severely unsettled group had greater than 9 times the odds of reporting clinically significant mental health symptoms at five years of age (OR 9.35, 95% CI 2.49 to 35.11, p<0.01) and this increased to greater than 10 times the odds by 11 years of age (OR 10.37, 95% CI 3.74 to 28.70, p<0.01).

Conclusion: Twelve month old infants with multiple moderate to severe regulatory problems are at greatly increased risk for clinically significant mental health concerns during childhood. Clinicians treating infants with sleep problems should enquire about other problematic regulatory behaviours, and if present, should offer referral to intervention and support services as appropriate.

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Journal of Sleep Research

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27

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S2

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Biomedical and clinical sciences

Psychology

Science & Technology

Life Sciences & Biomedicine

Clinical Neurology

Neurosciences & Neurology

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Cook, F; Giallo, R; Hiscock, H; Mensah, F; Sanchez, K; Reilly, S, Associations between infant regulation and childhood mental health concerns in a large, prospective, community cohort, Journal of Sleep Research, 2018, 27 (S1), pp. 19-1-9