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Childhood obesity is of increasing concern in South Africa, and interventions to promote healthy behaviours related to obesity in children are needed. Young children in urban low-income settings are particularly at risk of excess adiposity. The current study aimed to describe how parents of preschool children in an urban South African township view children’s movement and dietary behaviours, and associated barriers and facilitators.
A contextualist qualitative design was utilised with in-depth interviews conducted in the home setting and analysed using reflexive thematic analysis. Field notes were used to contextualise findings.
Four neighbourhoods in a predominantly low-income urban township.
Sixteen parents (fourteen mothers, two fathers) of preschool-age children were recruited via preschools.
Four themes were developed: children’s autonomy and the limits of parental control; balancing trust and fears; the appeal of screens; and aspirations and pressures of parenthood. Barriers to healthy behaviours included children’s food preferences, aspirations and pressures to consume unhealthy foods, other adults giving children snacks, lack of safe places to play, unhealthy food environments and underlying structural factors. Facilitators included set routines, the preschool environment, safe places to play and availability of healthy foods.
Low-income families in Soweto face many structural challenges that cannot easily be addressed through public health interventions, but there may be opportunities for behavioural interventions targeting interpersonal and organisational aspects, such as bedtime routines and preschool snacks, to achieve positive changes. More research on preschoolers’ movement and dietary behaviours, and related interventions, is needed in South Africa.
There is evidence that environmental and genetic risk factors for schizophrenia spectrum disorders are transdiagnostic and mediated in part through a generic pathway of affective dysregulation.
We analysed to what degree the impact of schizophrenia polygenic risk (PRS-SZ) and childhood adversity (CA) on psychosis outcomes was contingent on co-presence of affective dysregulation, defined as significant depressive symptoms, in (i) NEMESIS-2 (n = 6646), a representative general population sample, interviewed four times over nine years and (ii) EUGEI (n = 4068) a sample of patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorder, the siblings of these patients and controls.
The impact of PRS-SZ on psychosis showed significant dependence on co-presence of affective dysregulation in NEMESIS-2 [relative excess risk due to interaction (RERI): 1.01, p = 0.037] and in EUGEI (RERI = 3.39, p = 0.048). This was particularly evident for delusional ideation (NEMESIS-2: RERI = 1.74, p = 0.003; EUGEI: RERI = 4.16, p = 0.019) and not for hallucinatory experiences (NEMESIS-2: RERI = 0.65, p = 0.284; EUGEI: −0.37, p = 0.547). A similar and stronger pattern of results was evident for CA (RERI delusions and hallucinations: NEMESIS-2: 3.02, p < 0.001; EUGEI: 6.44, p < 0.001; RERI delusional ideation: NEMESIS-2: 3.79, p < 0.001; EUGEI: 5.43, p = 0.001; RERI hallucinatory experiences: NEMESIS-2: 2.46, p < 0.001; EUGEI: 0.54, p = 0.465).
The results, and internal replication, suggest that the effects of known genetic and non-genetic risk factors for psychosis are mediated in part through an affective pathway, from which early states of delusional meaning may arise.
This chapter attempts a dialogue between developmental psychology and sociology to explore the potential contribution a joint approach can make to understanding children’s human rights, with a focus on addressing childhood poverty. We reflect upon the relevance of our respective disciplines for thinking about children’s human rights and explore some of the tensions as well as complementarities between psychology and sociology. Beginning with a brief history of children’s rights, we explain the basics of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and introduce the theoretical framework of “living rights, social justice and translations.” Second, we address what our differing disciplines offer to the study and advancement of children’s rights, starting with psychology before outlining a sociological approach and how perspectives from both disciplines enrich an understanding of living rights. Our third section takes childhood poverty as an example to explore rights questions – defining child poverty as multidimensional and drawing on research from our respective fields. Fourth, we link children’s rights and poverty by focusing on a topic of vital importance to children’s well-being, that of violence. We conclude by summarizing the contributions that developmental psychology and sociology can make to understanding and translating children’s rights.
Depression is associated with lower educational attainment, but there has been little investigation of long-term educational trajectories in large cohorts with diagnosed depression.
To describe the educational attainment trajectories of children with a depression diagnosis in secondary care, and to investigate whether these trajectories vary by sociodemographic characteristics.
We identified new referrals to South London and Maudsley's NHS Foundation Trust between 2007 and 2013 who received a depression diagnosis at under 18 years old. Linking their health records to the National Pupil Database, we standardised their performance on three assessments (typically undertaken at ages 6–7 years (school Year 2), 10–11 (Year 6) and 15–16 (Year 11)) relative to the local reference population in each academic year. We used mixed models for repeated measures to estimate attainment trajectories.
In our sample of 1492 children, the median age at depression diagnosis was 15 years (interquartile range = 14–16). Their attainment showed a decline between school Years 6 and 11. Attainment was consistently lower among males and those eligible for free school meals. Black ethnic groups also showed lower attainment than White ethnic groups between Years 2 and 6, but showed a less pronounced drop in attainment at Year 11.
Those who receive a depression diagnosis during their school career show a drop in attainment in Year 11. Although this pattern was seen among multiple sociodemographic groups, gender, ethnicity and socioeconomic status predict more vulnerable subgroups within this clinical population who might benefit from additional educational support or more intensive treatment.
Child sexual abuse (CSA) is a notable risk factor for depressive disorders. Though multiply determined, increased sensitivity to stress (stress sensitization) and difficulty managing distress (emotion regulation) may reflect two pathways by which CSA confers depression risk. However, it remains unclear whether stress sensitization and emotion regulation deficits contribute to depression risk independently or in a sequential manner. That is, the frequent use of maladaptive emotion regulation responses and insufficient use of those that attenuate distress (adaptive emotion regulation) may lead to stress sensitization. We tested competing models of CSA, stress sensitization, and emotion regulation to predict depression symptoms and depressive affects in daily life among adults with and without histories of CSA. Results supported a sequential mediation: CSA predicted greater maladaptive repertoires that, in turn, exacerbated the effects of stress on depression symptoms. Maladaptive responses also exacerbated the effects of daily life stress on contemporaneous negative affect (NA) levels and their increase over time. Independent of stress sensitization, emotion regulation deficits also mediated CSA effects on both depressive outcomes, though the effect of maladaptive strategies was specific to NA, and adaptive responses to positive affect. Our findings suggest that emotion regulation deficits and stress sensitization play key intervening roles between CSA and risk for depression.
Dissociative identity disorder (DID) is a severely debilitating disorder. Despite recognition in the current and past versions of the DSM, DID remains a controversial psychiatric disorder, which hampers its diagnosis and treatment. Neurobiological evidence regarding the aetiology of DID supports clinical observations that it is a severe form of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Child soldiers are often viewed as a contemporary, “new war” phenomenon, but international concern about their use first emerged in response to anti-colonial liberation struggles. Youth were important actors in anti-colonial insurgencies, but their involvement has been neglected in existing historiographies of decolonization and counterinsurgency due to the absence and marginalization of youth voices in colonial archives. This article analyses the causes of youth insurgency and colonial counterinsurgency responses to their involvement in conflict between ca. 1945 and 1960, particularly comparing Kenya and Cyprus, but also drawing on evidence from Malaya, Indochina/Vietnam, and Algeria. It employs a generational lens to explore the experiences of “youth insurgents” primarily between the ages of twelve and twenty. Youth insurgents were most common where the legitimate grievances of youth were mobilized by anti-colonial groups who could recruit children through colonial organizations as well as family and social networks. While some teenagers fought due to coercion or necessity, others were politically motivated and willing to risk their lives for independence. Youth soldiers served in multiple capacities in insurgencies, from protestors to couriers to armed fighters, in roles that were shaped by multiple logics: the need for troop fortification and sustained manpower; the tactical exploitation of youth liminality, and the symbolic mobilization of childhood and discourses of childhood innocence. Counterinsurgency responses to youthful insurgents commonly combined violence and development, highlighting tensions within late colonial governance: juveniles were beaten, detained, and flogged, but also constructed as “delinquents” rather than “terrorists” to facilitate their subsequent “rehabilitation.”
Associations of socioenvironmental features like urbanicity and neighborhood deprivation with psychosis are well-established. An enduring question, however, is whether these associations are causal. Genetic confounding could occur due to downward mobility of individuals at high genetic risk for psychiatric problems into disadvantaged environments.
We examined correlations of five indices of genetic risk [polygenic risk scores (PRS) for schizophrenia and depression, maternal psychotic symptoms, family psychiatric history, and zygosity-based latent genetic risk] with multiple area-, neighborhood-, and family-level risks during upbringing. Data were from the Environmental Risk (E-Risk) Longitudinal Twin Study, a nationally-representative cohort of 2232 British twins born in 1994–1995 and followed to age 18 (93% retention). Socioenvironmental risks included urbanicity, air pollution, neighborhood deprivation, neighborhood crime, neighborhood disorder, social cohesion, residential mobility, family poverty, and a cumulative environmental risk scale. At age 18, participants were privately interviewed about psychotic experiences.
Higher genetic risk on all indices was associated with riskier environments during upbringing. For example, participants with higher schizophrenia PRS (OR = 1.19, 95% CI = 1.06–1.33), depression PRS (OR = 1.20, 95% CI = 1.08–1.34), family history (OR = 1.25, 95% CI = 1.11–1.40), and latent genetic risk (OR = 1.21, 95% CI = 1.07–1.38) had accumulated more socioenvironmental risks for schizophrenia by age 18. However, associations between socioenvironmental risks and psychotic experiences mostly remained significant after covariate adjustment for genetic risk.
Genetic risk is correlated with socioenvironmental risk for schizophrenia during upbringing, but the associations between socioenvironmental risk and adolescent psychotic experiences appear, at present, to exist above and beyond this gene-environment correlation.
Despite being communities of celibate individuals who had renounced marriage and family, monasteries housed and raised minor children. The definition of childhood in Egypt of late antiquity varied by gender and status and constituted age ranges rather than a clearly defined beginning and end point. Challenges with the source material include a paucity of references to children, ambiguity in primary sources about age, and the frequent context of trauma.
Labeling a student as socially maladjusted has been a source of controversy since 1975. The controversy persists because, to date, there is no accepted definition of the term “social maladjustment”, and no guidance provided by IDEA on what school teams should consider when using the exclusion for determining if a child is eligible for special education under the category of an emotional disturbance. When school teams determine a child is socially maladjusted, this classification is often used to exclude children demonstrating objectionable behaviors (i.e., delinquent, disruptive, and impulsive actions) from special education services and protections. Without tailored school interventions, students are disproportionately exposed to disciplinary actions, and other mental health services (e.g., MTSS) become secondary, if they are offered at all. Assessment strategies that identify the underlying causes of aggressive behaviors in children can inform school teams on how to provide therapeutic environments, approaches to discipline and accountability, and differential skill development.
In this chapter, we discuss the evolving role of the school psychologist working in early childhood settings, and highlight the importance of early learning and early intervention, standards for training and education of school psychologists to work with young children, and the role of the school psychologist in transitioning young children to kindergarten. We believe that early learning and early childhood education are critical to a healthy, thriving society, including the United States. However, most school psychology graduate programs do not offer knowledge of or experience in early childhood learning, assessment, diagnosis, or intervention. Given the importance of early childhood education and school psychologists’ evolving roles and responsibilities, they are strongly encouraged to engage in professional development activities around early childhood learning, education, assessment, and intervention in order to serve young children optimally. Multiple resources are provided at the end of the chapter to assist school psychologists in increasing their knowledge base regarding early childhood topics.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are believed to share partially overlapping causal mechanisms suggesting that early risk markers may also overlap. Using latent profile analysis (LPA) in a sample of infants enriched for ASD and ADHD, we first examined the number of distinct groups of 3-year-old children, based on ADHD and ASD symptomatology. To investigate early predictors of ASD and ADHD symptom profiles, we next examined differences in trajectories of infant behaviors among the LPA classes spanning general development, negative affect, attention, activity level, impulsivity, and social behavior. Participants included 166 infants at familial risk for ASD (n = 89), ADHD (n = 38), or low-risk for both (n = 39) evaluated at 12, 18, 24, and 36 months of age. A three-class solution was selected reflecting a Typically Developing (TD) class (low symptoms; n = 108), an ADHD class (high ADHD/low ASD symptoms; n = 39), and an ASD class (high ASD/ADHD symptoms; n = 19). Trajectories of infant behaviors were generally suggestive of a gradient pattern of differences, with the greatest impairment within the ASD class followed by the ADHD class. These findings indicate a mixture of overlapping and distinct early markers of preschool ASD- and ADHD-like profiles that can be difficult to disentangle early in life.
Several aspects of mother–child relationships are associated with children's internalizing problems. We examined longitudinal associations between mother–child conflict and children's internalizing problems in middle childhood. Specifically, we examined whether conflict and children's internalizing problems predict each other longitudinally in a sample of children from 3rd through 6th grade (N = 1,364) and their mothers using a cross-lagged panel model with random intercepts. In line with expectations, we found stable between-family differences in both mother–child conflict and children's internalizing problems. Contrary to expectations, we did not find that mother–child conflict and children's internalizing problems showed significant cross-lagged associations. However, mother–child conflict and children's internalizing problems had correlated errors at each wave, indicating that these two constructs covary with each other concurrently at multiple times across development, independent of stable between-family associations (i.e., as one increases, so does the other, and vice versa). The results of this study point to the importance of using statistical approaches that can disentangle between-family differences from within-family processes. In future studies, shorter time scales (e.g., weeks or months) may better capture dynamic associations between parent–child conflict and internalizing problems.
South Africa's national lockdown introduced serious threats to public mental health in a society where one in three individuals develops a psychiatric disorder during their life. We aimed to evaluate the mental health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic using a mixed-methods design.
This longitudinal study drew from a preexisting sample of 957 adults living in Soweto, a major township near Johannesburg. Psychological assessments were administered across two waves between August 2019 and March 2020 and during the first 6 weeks of the lockdown (late March–early May 2020). Interviews on COVID-19 experiences were administered in the second wave. Multiple regression models examined relationships between perceived COVID-19 risk and depression.
Full data on perceived COVID-19 risk, depression, and covariates were available in 221 adults. In total, 14.5% of adults were at risk for depression. Higher perceived COVID-19 risk predicted greater depressive symptoms (p < 0.001), particularly among adults with histories of childhood trauma, though this effect was marginally significant (p = 0.063). Adults were about two times more likely to experience significant depressive symptoms for every one unit increase in perceived COVID-19 risk (p = 0.021; 95% CI 1.10–3.39). Qualitative data identified potent experiences of anxiety, financial insecurity, fear of infection, and rumination.
Higher perceived risk of COVID-19 infection is associated with greater depressive symptoms during the first 6 weeks of quarantine. High rates of severe mental illness and low availability of mental healthcare amidst COVID-19 emphasize the need for immediate and accessible psychological resources.
Investigation of treatments that effectively treat adults with post-traumatic stress disorder from childhood experiences (Ch-PTSD) and are well tolerated by patients is needed to improve outcomes for this population.
The purpose of this study was to compare the effectiveness of two trauma-focused treatments, imagery rescripting (ImRs) and eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR), for treating Ch-PTSD.
We conducted an international, multicentre, randomised clinical trial, recruiting adults with Ch-PTSD from childhood trauma before 16 years of age. Participants were randomised to treatment condition and assessed by blind raters at multiple time points. Participants received up to 12 90-min sessions of either ImRs or EMDR, biweekly.
A total of 155 participants were included in the final intent-to-treat analysis. Drop-out rates were low, at 7.7%. A generalised linear mixed model of repeated measures showed that observer-rated post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms significantly decreased for both ImRs (d = 1.72) and EMDR (d = 1.73) at the 8-week post-treatment assessment. Similar results were seen with secondary outcome measures and self-reported PTSD symptoms. There were no significant differences between the two treatments on any standardised measure at post-treatment and follow-up.
ImRs and EMDR treatments were found to be effective in treating PTSD symptoms arising from childhood trauma, and in reducing other symptoms such as depression, dissociation and trauma-related cognitions. The low drop-out rates suggest that the treatments were well tolerated by participants. The results from this study provide evidence for the use of trauma-focused treatments for Ch-PTSD.
Emotional abuse and emotional neglect are among the most prevalent of childhood maltreatment types and associated with a range of poor mental health outcomes. We need to move beyond correlational research and shift our focus to sophisticated multimodal studies to fully understand the psychobiological mechanisms underlying these associations and to intervention studies.
This article explores the relationship between childhood obesity and educational outcomes in Mexico, a country where excess weight is predominant.
Using complementary multivariate estimators, we empirically investigate the association between childhood excess weight, measured in 2002, and schooling attainment measured 10 years later. Non-linear specifications are tested, and heterogeneous effects according to gender, living area and economic backgrounds are investigated.
To fill the literature gap, this study focuses on the understudied context of emerging countries such as Mexico.
Panel data from the Mexican Family Life Survey (2002–2012) are used. We restricted the sample to adolescent individuals who had between 9 and 15 years old in 2002 (attended primary or secondary school in 2002). The survey provides an accurate follow-up information on weight, height and waist circumference for each individual.
Controlling for a comprehensive set of covariates, we find that the relationship is non-linear in Mexico. While weight-based childhood obesity and abdominal adiposity are significantly associated with lower school attainment, at least in urban settings, no schooling gap is found between overweight students and their normal-weight counterparts. Along with rural–urban heterogeneity, obesity-based educational penalties appear to be stronger for girls and students from privileged economic backgrounds.
These results emphasise the co-occurrence of anti-fat and pro-fat social norms in Mexican schools: while anti-fat norms may particularly concern female, richer and urban students, pro-fat norms might persist among male, poorer and rural students. These findings have important implications for public policy, namely about awareness anti-obesity programmes.
Economic progress in India over the past three decades has not been accompanied by a commensurate improvement in the nutritional status of children, and a disproportionate burden of undernutrition is still focused on socioeconomically disadvantaged populations in the poorest regions. This study examined the nutritional status of children under 3 years of age using data from the fourth round of Indian National Family Health Survey conducted in 2015–2016. Child undernutrition was assessed in a sample of 126,431 under-3 children using the anthropometric indices of stunting, underweight and wasting (‘anthropometric failure’) across 640 districts, 5489 primary sampling units and 35 states/UTs of India. Descriptive statistics were used to examine the regional pattern of childhood undernutrition. Multilevel logistic regression models were fitted to examine the adjusted effect of social group (tribal vs non-tribal) and economic, demographic and contextual factors on the risks of stunting, underweight and wasting accounting for the hierarchical nature of the data. Interaction effects were estimated to model the joint effects of socioeconomic position (household wealth, maternal education, urban/rural residence and geographical region) and social group (tribal vs non-tribal) with the likelihood of anthropometric failure among children. The burden of childhood undernutrition was found to vary starkly across social, economic, demographic and contextual factors. Interaction effects demonstrated that tribal children from economically poorer households, with less-educated mothers, residing in rural areas and living in the Central region of India had elevated odds of anthropometric deprivation than other tribal children. The one-size-fits-all approach to tackling undernutrition in tribal children may not be efficient and could be counterproductive.
Lifecourse approaches to healthy ageing recognise that health in older age is affected by long-term cumulative inequalities between socio-economic status (SES), gender and ethnicity groups, which begin in childhood. Combining longitudinal survey data with lifecourse history interviews from 729 older New Zealanders aged 61–81 (mean = 72, standard deviation = 4.5), we tested a lifecourse model of predictors of physical, mental and social health in older age. Latent growth curve and mediation analysis showed that the link between childhood SES and late-life health (over 10 years) was mediated by education, occupation and adult wealth. To account for the moderating effects of gender and ethnicity, we modelled the effects for sub-groups separately (225 non-Māori women, 158 Māori women, 219 non-Māori men and 127 Māori men). Childhood SES was an important predictor of later-life health, mediated by education and adult SES for all participants and for non-Māori men. However, there were significantly different pathways for Māori men and for women. Māori men and women and non-Māori women did not attain the same health benefits from higher childhood SES and education as non-Māori men. Findings point to the importance of considering the mediators of lifelong impacts on health in older age, and recognition of how membership of different socially structured groups produces different pathways to late-life health.
Although studies have examined the association between adverse childhood experiences (ACE) and health and mental health outcomes, few studies have investigated the association between ACE and household food insecurity among children aged 0–5 years in the USA. The objective of this study is to investigate the association between ACE and household food insecurity among children aged 0–5 years.
The data used in this study came from the 2016–2017 National Survey of Children’s Health. Data were analysed using multinomial logistic regression with household food insecurity as the outcome variable.
An analytic sample of 17 543 children aged 0–5 years (51·4% boys).
Of the 17 543 respondents, 83·7% experienced no childhood adversity. About one in twenty (4·8%) children experienced moderate-to-severe food insecurity. Controlling for other factors, children with one adverse childhood experience had 1·43 times the risk of mild food insecurity (95 % CI 1·25, 1·63) and 2·33 times the risk of moderate-to-severe food insecurity (95 % CI 1·84, 2·95). The risk of mild food insecurity among children with two or more ACE was 1·5 times higher (95 % CI 1·24, 1·81) and that of moderate-to-severe food insecurity was 3·96 times higher (95 % CI 3·01, 5·20), when compared with children with no childhood adversity.
Given the critical period of development during the first few years of life, preventing ACE and food insecurity and early intervention in cases of adversity exposure is crucial to mitigate their negative impact on child development.