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School absenteeism and early behavioral problems in kindergarten

Date:
October 14, 2015
Source:
Deutsches Aerzteblatt International
Summary:
At least 5% of children and adolescents in Germany are in need of psychiatric treatment. Diagnostic investigation for behavioral problems is indicated in another 10% to 18%. Two recent articles explore the questions of what interventions help children who are avoiding school, and whether providing support for social and emotional skills can improve prosocial behavior in preschool children.
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At least 5% of children and adolescents in Germany are in need of psychiatric treatment. Diagnostic investigation for behavioral problems is indicated in another 10% to 18%. Two articles in Deutsches Ärzteblatt International explore the questions of what interventions help children who are avoiding school, and whether providing support for social and emotional skills can improve prosocial behavior in preschool children.

Annika Schell, Lucia Albers, and co-authors conclude in their study that an age-appropriate training program at kindergarten can improve children's social and emotional skills.These skills are often poorly developed and therefore need training. Until now, training has only been developed for elementary and secondary school children. The study presented here reports the early results of a training program developed for preschool children.

The article by Volker Reissner and co-authors investigates the outcome of interventions in children who have been avoiding school. A total of 112 school avoiders were divided into two groups, one receiving a specified form of cognitive behavioral therapy while the second (the "treatment as usual" group) received 4 weeks' treatment in various forms from child and adolescent psychiatrists in private practice. None of the interventions was shown to be superior to the other in terms of leading to a higher rate of school attendance after treatment was ended. In both groups, 60% of the study participants returned to school. However, up to 40% continued to refuse to attend school after the end of therapy.

Helmut Remschmidt introduces the theme of this issue in an editorial. The conclusion he draws is that the high rate of persistent school absenteeism is one more reason to start intervention as early as at preschool age, because nontreatment of early behavioral problems can later develop into both psychopathological problems and school avoidance.


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Materials provided by Deutsches Aerzteblatt International. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal References:

  1. Reissner V, Jost D, Krahn U, Knollmann M, Weschenfelder AK, Neumann A, Wasem J, Hebebrand J. The Treatment of School Avoidance in Children and Adolescents With Psychiatric Illness: A Randomized Controlled Trial a randomized controlled trial. Dtsch Arztebl Int, 2015 DOI: 10.3238/arztebl.2015.0655
  2. Remschmidt, H. How Can We Prevent School Avoidance and Behavior Problems in Preschool Children? Dtsch Arztebl Int, 2015 DOI: 10.3238/arztebl.2015.0645

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Deutsches Aerzteblatt International. "School absenteeism and early behavioral problems in kindergarten." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 October 2015. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/10/151014085004.htm>.
Deutsches Aerzteblatt International. (2015, October 14). School absenteeism and early behavioral problems in kindergarten. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 8, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/10/151014085004.htm
Deutsches Aerzteblatt International. "School absenteeism and early behavioral problems in kindergarten." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/10/151014085004.htm (accessed May 8, 2017).