Topical Collection "Emotional and Behavioral Problems in Children and Adolescents: Assessment and Intervention"

A topical collection in Children (ISSN 2227-9067). This collection belongs to the section "Global and Public Health".

Editors

Prof. Dr. Pietro Muratori
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
IRCCS Fondazione Stella Maris, Pisa, Italy
Interests: children and adolescents with emotional and behavioral difficulties; children with disruptive behavior disorder; cognitive psychotherapy
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Valentina Levantini
E-Mail Website
Co-Guest Editor
IRCCS Fondazione Stella Maris, Pisa, Italy
Interests: youths with disruptive behavior disorder; children with aggressive behavioral problems; emotional problems in children
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Topical Collection Information

Dear Colleagues,

Emotional (i.e., anxiety, mood disorders, peer problems) and behavioral (i.e., hyperactivity, conduct problems) issues are drastically increasing among children and adolescents. They present a hazard for youths’ well-being and development, frequently leading to persistent adverse outcomes. The current COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted the importance of addressing these burdensome problems. Therefore, the current Special Issue aims to gather original and interesting articles presenting the latest news about the assessment, prevention, and treatment of youths’ emotional and behavioral problems. We will also consider articles exploring the protective and risk factors of emotional and behavioral problems.

We invite both empirical studies and conceptual/theoretical contributions related to the above-described topics for this Special Issue. We are open to various theoretical, practical, and methodological perspectives, and hope that this Special Issue will be a multifaceted and stimulating collection of works with multiple perspectives. We strongly hope that this Special Issue will collect contributions from experts from different backgrounds, and we also highly encourage researchers from all subdisciplines in psychology and medicine to join.

We invite you to contribute your best work to this Special Issue.

Dr. Pietro Muratori
Guest Editor

Dr. Valentina Levantini
Co-Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Children is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • disruptive behavior
  • conduct
  • ADHD
  • diagnosis
  • intervention
  • parent
  • emotional problems
  • anxiety
  • mood disorders
  • peer problems
  • protective and risk factors

Published Papers (13 papers)

2022

Jump to: 2021

Article
Internet Gaming Disorder in Children and Adolescents with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Children 2022, 9(3), 428; https://doi.org/10.3390/children9030428 - 18 Mar 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 745
Abstract
Although Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has been related to an increased risk for behavioral addictions, the relationship between ADHD and Internet Gaming Disorder (IGD) is still debated. The aim of this study is to address this topic by exploring the prevalence of [...] Read more.
Although Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has been related to an increased risk for behavioral addictions, the relationship between ADHD and Internet Gaming Disorder (IGD) is still debated. The aim of this study is to address this topic by exploring the prevalence of IGD in a consecutive sample of ADHD youth, compared to a normal control group, and by assessing selected psychopathological and cognitive features in ADHD patients with and without IGD. One hundred and eight patients with ADHD (mean age 11.7 ± 2.6 years, 96 males) and 147 normal controls (NC) (mean age 13.9 ± 3.0 years, 114 males) were included in the study and received structured measures for IGD. In the ADHD group, 44% of the sample were above the IGD cut-off, compared to 9.5% in the NC group. ADHD patients with IGD presented with greater severity and impairment, more severe ADHD symptomatology, more internalizing symptoms, particularly withdrawal/depression and socialization problems, and more prominence of addiction and evasion dimensions. A binary logistic regression showed that the degree of inattention presented a greater weight in determining IGD. These findings may be helpful for identifying, among ADHD patients, those at higher risk for developing a superimposed IGD. Full article
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Article
A Protective Factor for Emotional and Behavioral Problems in Children: The Parental Humor
Children 2022, 9(3), 404; https://doi.org/10.3390/children9030404 - 11 Mar 2022
Viewed by 541
Abstract
In order to prevent the development of emotional and behavioral problems, risk and protective factors must be identified. This study aims to establish a link between perceived parental humor and children mental health. The sample comprises 762 pupils aged 10 to 15 (M [...] Read more.
In order to prevent the development of emotional and behavioral problems, risk and protective factors must be identified. This study aims to establish a link between perceived parental humor and children mental health. The sample comprises 762 pupils aged 10 to 15 (M = 12.23; SD = 1.12), who completed self-reports evaluating perceived parental humor (EEE-H) and their own emotional and behavioral strengths and difficulties (SDQ). The results indicate that parental humor is negatively associated with internalizing problems in children; no association with externalizing problems is observed. According to the study, girls who perceive low parental humor are the most likely to display internalizing problems, while girls perceiving high parental humor are the least likely to do so. Parental humor, characterized by calmness, cheerfulness, and optimism, is a protective factor against internalizing problems in children, especially girls. We recommend training for parents and training and intervention programs for families to encourage activities that boost parental humor. Full article
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Article
Do Metacognitions of Children and Adolescents with Anxiety Disorders Change after Intensified Exposure Therapy?
Children 2022, 9(2), 168; https://doi.org/10.3390/children9020168 - 28 Jan 2022
Viewed by 826
Abstract
Metacognitive beliefs have repeatedly proven to play a role in anxiety disorders in children and adolescents, but few studies have investigated whether they change after cognitive behavioral therapy. This longitudinal intervention study explores whether positive and negative metacognitive beliefs in particular change after [...] Read more.
Metacognitive beliefs have repeatedly proven to play a role in anxiety disorders in children and adolescents, but few studies have investigated whether they change after cognitive behavioral therapy. This longitudinal intervention study explores whether positive and negative metacognitive beliefs in particular change after exposure-focused treatment, and if metacognitive changes predict reductions in anxiety symptoms. A sample of 27 children between 8 and 16 years of age with a primary diagnosis of specific phobia, separation-anxiety disorder or social phobia completed assessments of anxiety symptoms, metacognitive beliefs, worry and repetitive negative thoughts before and after 11 sessions of intensified exposure treatment. Metacognitive beliefs did not change significantly after intensified exposure, but post-hoc power analysis revealed a lack of power here. Change in negative metacognitive beliefs correlated with a change in anxiety symptoms, but did not independently contribute as a predictor variable. Differences between subsamples showed that patients with separation-anxiety disorder scored higher on negative metacognitive beliefs than those with specific or social phobia. Consideration of metacognition, and negative metacognitive beliefs in particular could help us further improve the understanding and treatment of anxiety disorders in children and adolescents and should therefore receive more attention in psychotherapy research. Full article
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Article
How Do Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Children with Developmental Delays Differ on the Child Behavior Checklist 1.5–5 DSM-Oriented Scales?
Children 2022, 9(1), 111; https://doi.org/10.3390/children9010111 - 14 Jan 2022
Viewed by 558
Abstract
The Child Behavior Checklist 1.5–5 (CBCL 1.5–5) is applied to identify emotional and behavioral problems on children with developmental disabilities (e.g., autism spectrum disorder [ASD] and developmental delays [DD]). To understand whether there are variations between these two groups on CBCL DSM-oriented scales, [...] Read more.
The Child Behavior Checklist 1.5–5 (CBCL 1.5–5) is applied to identify emotional and behavioral problems on children with developmental disabilities (e.g., autism spectrum disorder [ASD] and developmental delays [DD]). To understand whether there are variations between these two groups on CBCL DSM-oriented scales, we took two invariance analyses on 443 children (228 children with ASD). The first analysis used measurement invariance and multiple-group factor analysis on the test structure. The second analysis used item-level analysis, i.e., differential item functioning (DIF), to discover whether group memberships responded differently on some items even though underlying trait levels were the same. It was discovered that, on the test structure, the Anxiety Problems scale did not achieve metric invariance. The other scales achieved metric invariance; DIF analyses further revealed that there were items that functioned differently across subscales. These DIF items were mostly about children’s reactions to the surrounding environment. Our findings provide implications for clinicians to use CBCL DSM-oriented scales on differentiating children with ASD and children with DD. In addition, researchers need to be mindful about how items were responded differently, even though there were no mean differences on the surface. Full article
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2021

Jump to: 2022

Article
A Meta-Analysis of the Current State of Evidence of the Incredible Years Teacher-Classroom Management Program
Children 2022, 9(1), 24; https://doi.org/10.3390/children9010024 - 30 Dec 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 555
Abstract
This meta-analysis evaluated the current state of evidence and identified potential treatment moderators of the Incredible Years Teacher Classroom Management (IYTCM) program used to reduce externalizing and internalizing behaviors in school-aged children. Inclusion criteria involved published studies between 1984–2018 and examining the effects [...] Read more.
This meta-analysis evaluated the current state of evidence and identified potential treatment moderators of the Incredible Years Teacher Classroom Management (IYTCM) program used to reduce externalizing and internalizing behaviors in school-aged children. Inclusion criteria involved published studies between 1984–2018 and examining the effects of IYTCM as a standalone program on teacher and/or child behavioral outcomes. We identified and narratively summarized potential moderators, which included the severity of child behavior, dosage, study design, and reporting methods. Overall, effect sizes revealed IYTCM had moderate positive effects on teachers and small positive effects on children. Narrative summaries indicated larger effect sizes in higher dosage studies and higher risk children. The results align with previous systematic reviews on the Incredible Years Parent Training (IYPT) program but this is the first study to look at the teacher training program. Overall, IYTCM seems to be an effective intervention; however, what components of this program work best, for whom, and under what conditions require further empirical investigation. Full article
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Article
The Impact of Extended E-Learning on Emotional Well-Being of Students during the COVID-19 Pandemic in Saudi Arabia
Children 2022, 9(1), 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/children9010013 - 27 Dec 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1848
Abstract
Educational institutions in Saudi Arabia extended e-learning until the third semester of the academic calendar to prevent the spread of COVID-19 infection and to achieve 70% inoculation for the Saudi population. This study assesses the impact of extended e-learning and other associated stressors [...] Read more.
Educational institutions in Saudi Arabia extended e-learning until the third semester of the academic calendar to prevent the spread of COVID-19 infection and to achieve 70% inoculation for the Saudi population. This study assesses the impact of extended e-learning and other associated stressors on the emotional health of university students in Saudi Arabia. An online cross-sectional survey collected data between the months of January–March 2021. The emotional signs of stress were measured by using a subset of items from the COVID-19 Adolescent Symptom and Psychological Experience Questionnaire (CASPE). Data about demographic variables, educational characteristics and academic performance were also collected. A regression analysis was performed to determine predictors of emotional health. A total of 434 university students including females (63%) and males (37%) provided responses. One-third of students (33%) indicated that the COVID-19 pandemic and its resulting changes including online distance studies greatly influenced their daily lives in a negative way. The regression analysis demonstrated that female students and students with average academic performance had increased vulnerability to experience emotional signs of stress (p < 0.05). The factors ‘Not going to university’ and ‘Not having a routine life’ were significant predictors of stress responses (p < 0.01) and (p < 0.001) respectively. E-learning during the COVID-19 pandemic made it possible for students to complete their studies as per academic calendar; simultaneously, it increased the vulnerability to experience stress, particularly for female students and students with average academic performance. These findings imply that academic advising and counseling services should be more readily available during digital studies to support at risk students. Full article
Article
Digital Identities of Young People from the South of Spain: An Online Sexual Differentiation
Children 2021, 8(12), 1179; https://doi.org/10.3390/children8121179 - 14 Dec 2021
Viewed by 739
Abstract
Through a mixed methodological approach, we want to know how adolescents aged between 14 and 16 years from the south of Spain express and identify themselves on social networks, with respect to their sex. As such differences can determine gender inequality, we will [...] Read more.
Through a mixed methodological approach, we want to know how adolescents aged between 14 and 16 years from the south of Spain express and identify themselves on social networks, with respect to their sex. As such differences can determine gender inequality, we will analyse differences between females and males regarding the expression of identity on social networks. Analysis of obtained results demonstrates that many relevant attributes still emerge such as the socio-cultural representation of gender as sex in social networks. Differences emerged between the identity expressions of females and males which can generate inequalities favouring females and males. This implies a series of repercussions and, ultimately, defines the so-called digital gender divide. Taking into account these results we could intervene in the population of children to carry out prevention activities focused on social networks. Full article
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Article
Assessment of Oral Skills in Adolescents
Children 2021, 8(12), 1136; https://doi.org/10.3390/children8121136 - 04 Dec 2021
Viewed by 1087
Abstract
There is broad consensus on the need to foster oral skills in middle school due to their inherent importance and because they serve as a tool for learning and acquiring other competences. In order to facilitate the assessment of communicative competence, we hereby [...] Read more.
There is broad consensus on the need to foster oral skills in middle school due to their inherent importance and because they serve as a tool for learning and acquiring other competences. In order to facilitate the assessment of communicative competence, we hereby propose a model which establishes five key dimensions for effective oral communication: interaction management; multimodality and prosody; textual coherence and cohesion; argumentative strategies; and lexicon and terminology. Based on this model, we developed indicators to measure the proposed dimensions, thus generating a self-report tool to assess oral communication in middle school. Following an initial study conducted with 168 students (mean age = 12.47 years, SD = 0.41), we selected 22 items with the highest discriminant power, while in a second study carried out with a sample of 960 students (mean age 14.11 years, SD = 0.97), we obtained evidence concerning factorial validity and the relationships between oral skills, emotional intelligence and metacognitive strategies related to metacomprehension. We concluded that the proposed model and its derived measure constitute an instrument with good psychometric properties for a reliable and valid assessment of students’ oral competence in middle school. Full article
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Article
Psychometric Properties of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire-Dysregulation Profile in Italian Early Adolescents
Children 2021, 8(12), 1123; https://doi.org/10.3390/children8121123 - 03 Dec 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 757
Abstract
Emotional dysregulation is of great cause for concern because it is associated with severe outcomes. Currently, the identification of youths with signs of emotional and behavioral dysregulation is obtained through the assessment of a Dysregulation Profile (DP), including the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire-DP [...] Read more.
Emotional dysregulation is of great cause for concern because it is associated with severe outcomes. Currently, the identification of youths with signs of emotional and behavioral dysregulation is obtained through the assessment of a Dysregulation Profile (DP), including the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire-DP (SDQ-DP). Despite its increasingly frequent use in research, studies exploring the SDQ-DP properties are still limited, and no study with Italian samples is currently available. The current study aimed to explore the psychometric properties of the SDQ-DP parent-report and its association with difficulties in the school context in a sample of 332 Italian early adolescents. Results showed that the SDQ-DP parent-report is a single-factor measure with good internal consistency. Also, in both males and females, the SDQ-DP parent-report was associated with higher teacher-reported Internalizing (e.g., anxious symptoms) and Externalizing Problems (e.g., hyperactivity, conduct problems) and lower Prosocial Behavior. This study added further evidence about the utility of the SDQ-DP in the assessment, prevention, and treatment of emotional dysregulation. Full article
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Article
Jealousy, Violence, and Sexual Ambivalence in Adolescent Students According to Emotional Dependency in the Couple Relationship
Children 2021, 8(11), 993; https://doi.org/10.3390/children8110993 - 02 Nov 2021
Viewed by 990
Abstract
Background: Emotional dependency in couples involves excessive and dysfunctional emotional bonding. Aims: This work aimed to determine the relationship between violence, jealousy, and ambivalent sexism according to emotional dependence in adolescent student couples. Methods: A cross-sectional study. A total of 234 Spanish adolescents [...] Read more.
Background: Emotional dependency in couples involves excessive and dysfunctional emotional bonding. Aims: This work aimed to determine the relationship between violence, jealousy, and ambivalent sexism according to emotional dependence in adolescent student couples. Methods: A cross-sectional study. A total of 234 Spanish adolescents (69.7% female, Mage = 16.77, SD = 1.11) participated in the study. Participants completed an ad hoc interview and several validated tests (Partner’s Emotional Dependency Scale, the Ambivalent Sexism Inventory, the Jealousy subscale of the Love Addiction Scale, the Conflict in Adolescent Dating Relationship Inventory). Results: Of the sample, 40.6% indicated high emotional dependence and 14.5% extreme emotional dependence. Differences were observed according to gender (t = 3.92, p < 0.001), with adolescent boys scoring higher than adolescent girls. Extremely emotionally dependent participants showed differences in both violence (sexual, relational, verbal, and physical) and ambivalent sexism (hostile, benevolent) and jealousy scores. Generating a predictive model of emotional dependence, with the variable jealousy and ambivalent sexism as predictor variables, it was found that jealousy has the greatest predictive and major explanatory capacity (R2 = 0.297); with an R2 = 0.334. However, the contribution of the ASI-Hostile subscale was not significant when the ASI-Benevolent subscale was introduced into the model. Further, in a second model where the scores on jealousy and the couple conflict inventory’s subscales were considered as predictors, are again jealousy makes the greatest predictive contribution and shows the greatest explanatory capacity (R2 = 0.296). It was found that the contribution is significant only for the predictive capacity of Sexual Violence and Relational Violence. In this sense, the educational context is one of the propitious places to detect and correct behaviors that may be indicative of potentially unbalanced and unbalancing relationships for adolescents. Full article
Article
The Effect of Antibiotic Treatment of Early Childhood Shigellosis on Long-Term Prevalence of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
Children 2021, 8(10), 880; https://doi.org/10.3390/children8100880 - 02 Oct 2021
Viewed by 519
Abstract
It has recently been shown that children with early shigellosis are at increased risk of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This study aimed to evaluate the association between antibiotic treatment of shigellosis with long-term ADHD rates. A retrospective cohort study was conducted that included [...] Read more.
It has recently been shown that children with early shigellosis are at increased risk of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This study aimed to evaluate the association between antibiotic treatment of shigellosis with long-term ADHD rates. A retrospective cohort study was conducted that included all the Leumit Health Services (LHS) enrollees aged 5–18 years between 2000–2018 with a documented Shigella-positive gastroenteritis before the age of 3 years. Of the 5176 children who were positive for Shigella gastroenteritis before the age of 3 years, 972 (18.8%) were treated with antibiotics early (<5 days), 250 (4.8%) were treated late (≥5 days), and 3954 children (76.4%) were not prescribed antibiotics. Late antibiotic treatment was associated with significantly increased rates of ADHD (adjusted OR = 1.61; 95% CI, 1.1–2.3). Early treatment with antibiotics was not associated with increased ADHD rates (adjusted OR = 1.02; 95% CI, 0.8–1.3). In conclusion, late antibiotic treatment of early childhood shigellosis was associated with increased rates of ADHD. Full article
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Article
Does Maternal Mental Health and Maternal Stress Affect Preschoolers’ Behavioral Symptoms?
Children 2021, 8(9), 816; https://doi.org/10.3390/children8090816 - 16 Sep 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 935
Abstract
(1) Background: Maternal stress and depression are considered risk factors in children’s socioemotional development, also showing high prevalence worldwide. (2) Method: Participants correspond to a longitudinal sample of 6335 mother/child pairs (18–72 months), who were surveyed in 2010 and then in 2012. The [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Maternal stress and depression are considered risk factors in children’s socioemotional development, also showing high prevalence worldwide. (2) Method: Participants correspond to a longitudinal sample of 6335 mother/child pairs (18–72 months), who were surveyed in 2010 and then in 2012. The hypothesis was tested with SEM analysis, setting the child’s internalized/externalized problems as dependent variable, maternal depression as independent variable, and stress as a partial mediator. (3) Results: Both depression during pregnancy and recent depression has not only a direct effect on the internalizing and externalizing symptomatology of the child, but also an indirect effect through parental stress. Significant direct and indirect relationships were found. (4) Conclusions: Maternal depression and the presence of parental stress can influence children’s behavioral problems, both internalizing and externalizing. Full article
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Article
Measurement of Behavioral Emotion Regulation Strategies in Early Childhood: The Early Emotion Regulation Behavior Questionnaire (EERBQ)
Children 2021, 8(9), 779; https://doi.org/10.3390/children8090779 - 06 Sep 2021
Viewed by 1250
Abstract
The Early Emotion Regulation Behavior Questionnaire (EERBQ) assesses children’s emotion regulation (ER) behavioral strategies in both positive and negative emotional contexts. Psychometric properties and factor structure were tested in a sample of caregivers across the United States (N = 362) with children [...] Read more.
The Early Emotion Regulation Behavior Questionnaire (EERBQ) assesses children’s emotion regulation (ER) behavioral strategies in both positive and negative emotional contexts. Psychometric properties and factor structure were tested in a sample of caregivers across the United States (N = 362) with children ages 2–6 years-old (56% male; 73% White). Findings suggest that the EERBQ is psychometrically sound and correlates with other well-established measures of children’s socioemotional functioning. Previously, researchers have only been able to assess children’s emotional behavioral regulatory strategies in a laboratory setting. Thus, use of the EERBQ addresses a critical gap in the current literature by providing researchers and practitioners with an instrument to measure young children’s early emotional functioning outside of a laboratory context. This is particularly salient because early difficulty regulating emotions is often a precursor to persistent adverse developmental outcomes. Thus, the ability to easily to collect rich and predictive behavioral regulation data is imperative for early identification and treatment of youths’ emotional and behavioral problems. Full article
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