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Mixed ethnicity and behavioural problems in the Millennium Cohort Study
  1. Afshin Zilanawala,
  2. Amanda Sacker,
  3. Yvonne Kelly
  1. Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Afshin Zilanawala, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, 1-19 Torrington Place, London WC1E 6BT, UK; afshin.zilanawala{at}


Background The population of mixed ethnicity individuals in the UK is growing. Despite this demographic trend, little is known about mixed ethnicity children and their problem behaviours. We examine trajectories of behavioural problems among non-mixed and mixed ethnicity children from early to middle childhood using nationally representative cohort data in the UK.

Methods Data from 16 330 children from the Millennium Cohort Study with total difficulties scores were analysed. We estimated trajectories of behavioural problems by mixed ethnicity using growth curve models.

Results White mixed (mean total difficulties score: 8.3), Indian mixed (7.7), Pakistani mixed (8.9) and Bangladeshi mixed (7.2) children had fewer problem behaviours than their non-mixed counterparts at age 3 (9.4, 10.1, 13.1 and 11.9, respectively). White mixed, Pakistani mixed and Bangladeshi mixed children had growth trajectories in problem behaviours significantly different from that of their non-mixed counterparts.

Conclusions Using a detailed mixed ethnic classification revealed diverging trajectories between some non-mixed and mixed children across the early life course. Future studies should investigate the mechanisms, which may influence increasing behavioural problems in mixed ethnicity children.

  • Child Psychology
  • Race and Health

This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt and build upon this work, for commercial use, provided the original work is properly cited. See:

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