OBJECTIVE To assess the value of health and behavioural problems at 8 weeks as predictors of behavioural problems at 8 months in a whole year birth cohort.
STUDY DESIGN Prospective birth cohort study.
SETTING The socially and ethnically diverse city of Coventry.
MAIN OUTCOME Parent reported behavioural problems at 8 months.
METHOD Parent reported infant health and behaviour data were collected, using a validated questionnaire administered by the family health visitor at 8 weeks and 8 months, on 1541 infants participating in the Coventry cohort study. Sociodemographic data were collected at the health visitor’s initial visit. Unadjusted relative risks (with 95% confidence intervals (CI)) of behaviour problems at 8 months by sociodemographic variables and health and behavioural problems at 8 weeks were estimated. Adjustment for confounding was made by logistic regression.
RESULTS Infants reported to have behavioural problems at 8 weeks had a significant risk of parent reported behavioural problems at 8 months (adjusted relative risk, 3.44; 95% CI, 1.95 to 6.09) after adjustment for other health outcomes and sociodemographic factors. Of infants with behavioural problems by 8 weeks of age, 19.1% were reported to have behavioural problems at 8 months.
CONCLUSIONS Infants whose parents report behaviour problems by 8 weeks of age are at higher risk of behavioural problems at 8 months. However, despite the higher risk, the proportions of infants identified by behaviour at 8 weeks were too small for the early outcomes to be useful as predictors of behaviour at 8 months in the whole infant population.
- behavioural problems
- birth cohort study
- predictive value
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