Child and adolescent mental health trajectories in relation to exclusion from school from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC)

Maria Tejerina‐Arreal *, Claire Parker, Amelia R Paget, William Henley, Stuart Logan, Alan M Emond, Tamsin Ford

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

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Abstract

Background
As the prevalence of childhood mental health conditions varies by age and gender, we explored whether there were similar variations in the relationship between psychopathology and exclusion from school in a prospective UK population‐based birth cohort.

Method
The Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children collected reports of exclusion at 8 years and 16 years. Mental health was assessed at repeated time points using the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ).

Results
Using adjusted linear mixed effects models, we detected a nonlinear interaction between exclusion and age related to poor mental health for boys [adjusted coefficient 1.13 (95% confidence interval 0.55–1.71)] excluded by age 8, but not for girls. The SDQ scores of boys who were excluded in primary school were higher than their peers from age 3, and increasingly diverged over time. As teenagers, these interactions appeared for both genders [boys’ adjusted coefficient 0.18 (0.10–0.27); girls 0.29 (0.17–0.40)]. For teenage girls, exclusion by 16 was followed by deteriorating mental health. Family adversity predicted exclusion in all analyses.

Conclusion
Prompt access to effective intervention for children in poor mental health may improve both mental health and access to education.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages7
JournalChild and Adolescent Mental Health
Early online date21 Jan 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 Jan 2020

Keywords

  • ALSPAC
  • school exclusion
  • child psychopathology
  • Gender

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