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Prevalence and Prediction of Disorders in Early Childhood: A Community Study

  • Janet H. Roth (a1), Mark R. Dadds (a2), John McAloon (a3), Adam Guastella (a4) and Carl F. Weems (a5)...

This article examines the prevalence and prediction of internalising and externalising disorders from temperament and parenting in children aged 4 to 6 years (N = 491). Children were assessed via parent and teacher reports over 14 months and clinical interviews with parents were included at follow-up, along with parent and teacher reports of behavioural and emotional difficulties. Prevalence rates for internalising disorders (8.7%) were higher than for externalising disorders (5.8%), and internalising rates were similar to that found for older children in the same city. Accuracy of prediction of disorders, as well as overall behavioural and emotional difficulties, was low to moderate, and externalising problems were better predicted than internalising problems. The results highlight that while psychological disorders can be predicted from measures of temperament in infancy, the accuracy is too low to recommend these children receive selective prevention and treatment programs.

Corresponding author
Address for correspondence: Mark R. Dadds, School of Psychology, University of New South Wales, Sydney NSW 2052, Australia. E-mail:
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Behaviour Change
  • ISSN: 0813-4839
  • EISSN: 2049-7768
  • URL: /core/journals/behaviour-change
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