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Screening for mental health problems in urban preschool children – a pilot study

Author:

H Perera

Sri Lanka Journal of Child Health, LK
About H
Senior Lecturer, Department of Psychological
Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of
Colombo.
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Abstract

Objectives To assess prevalence and nature of mental
health problems in preschool children and the
feasibility and effectiveness of a screening tool for
regular use by primary healthcare doctors in
identifying these problems.
Setting Colombo Municipal Council Child Welfare
Centre - preschool clinics.
Method Assessment tool was a semi-structured
interview, which included a checklist of common
symptoms of developmental, emotional and
behaviour problems. Responses of the adult caregiver
were recorded.
Results Data of 120 children, 36-68 months of age,
were available for analysis. Mild symptoms were
present in 45.5% and definite or severe symptoms in
9.9%. A reliable positive correlation was found only
between aggressive behaviour, disobedience and
destructive behaviour (r= +0.66). There was low
correlation between behaviour problems and eating
problems and emotional symptoms (r= +0.11).
Conclusion Rapid and effective screening was
possible using the assessment tool, which can be used
to improve recognition of mental health problem in
preschoolers.

Sri Lanka Journal of Child Health, 2004; 33: 39-42

(Key words: Preschool children, mental health problems, epidemiology, urban)

doi: 10.4038/sljch.v33i2.650

How to Cite: Perera, H., 2009. Screening for mental health problems in urban preschool children – a pilot study. Sri Lanka Journal of Child Health, 33(2), pp.39–42. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/sljch.v33i2.650
Published on 09 Jul 2009.
Peer Reviewed

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