Find Paper, Faster
Example:10.1021/acsami.1c06204 or Chem. Rev., 2007, 107, 2411-2502
Externalizing behavior in preschool children in a South African birth cohort: Predictive pathways in a high-risk context
Development and Psychopathology  (IF5.317),  Pub Date : 2022-03-15, DOI: 10.1017/s095457942200027x
Susan Malcolm-Smith, Marilyn T. Lake, Akhona Krwece, Christopher P. du Plooy, Nadia Hoffman, Kirsten A. Donald, Heather J. Zar, Dan J. Stein

Mental health problems often begin in early childhood. However, the associations of various individual and contextual risk factors with mental health in the preschool period are incompletely understood, particularly in low- to middle-income countries (LMICs) where multiple risk factors co-exist. To address this gap, we prospectively followed 981 children in a South African birth cohort, the Drakenstein Child Health Study, assessing pre-and postnatal exposures and risk factors. The predictive value of these factors for child mental health (assessed by the Child Behavior Checklist) was modeled using structural equation modeling. We identified two key pathways to greater externalizing behavior: (1) prenatal exposure to substances (alcohol and smoking) directly predicted increased externalizing behavior (β = 0.24, p < 0.001); this relationship was partially mediated by an aspect of infant temperament (negative emotionality; β = 0.05, p = 0.016); (2) lower socioeconomic status and associated maternal prenatal depression predicted more coercive parenting, which in turn predicted increased externalizing behavior (β = 0.18, p = 0.001). Findings in this high-risk LMIC cohort cohere with research from higher income contexts, and indicate the need to introduce integrated screening and intervention strategies for maternal prenatal substance use and depression, and promoting positive parenting across the preschool period.