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Special Issue "Children Development and Health Care in Stress and Wellbeing Contexts"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Children's Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Marta Tremolada
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Developmental and Social Psychology, Department of Child and Woman Health, University of Padua, 35131 Padova, Italy
Interests: developmental and social psychology; pediatric psychology; psycho-oncology; wellbeing; social networking; technology use in children; illness narratives; family functioning; psychological interventions; parenting; developmental and psychological assessment
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Livia Taverna
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Faculty of Education, Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, 39042 Brixen-Bressanone, Italy
Interests: developmental and educational psychology; children's psychosocial wellbeing; learning developmental disabilities; adaptive behaviors; parenting; cultural psychology
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Factors influencing children’s health and wellbeing in different developmental contexts are a crucial issue in developmental psychology. Appropriate knowledge related to the variables and their interactions in different areas and domains are important for all the caregivers who support and accompany a healthy development. For this purpose, we are collecting contributions for a Special Issue in the field of child wellbeing and health care within both stress and healthy contexts. We invite submissions of original research papers, reviews, notes, comments, etc. which will be published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health by MDPI. Qualitative or quantitative contributions from basic or applied research that will extend the knowledge in this field are welcomed.

The purpose of this Special Issue is to publish relevant research dealing with children's wellbeing and health care during infancy, childhood and adolescence. The Issue aims to cover the cognitive, social, linguistic and motor development of children relevant for their education, health, care and wellbeing.

We encourage authors to send a short abstract (500 words max.) and a tentative title in advance. Completed manuscripts must be submitted via the online portal:
https://susy.mdpi.com/user/manuscripts/upload/93e0e81cbd716f304542aabc96e478ba?journal=ijerph.

All submitted manuscripts will be processed through a fast peer-review process.

We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Dr. Marta Tremolada
Dr. Livia Taverna
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

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. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly 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 2300 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

  • children
  • health
  • developmental tasks
  • illness
  • adaptive behavior
  • psychomotor development
  • wellbeing
  • psychopathology
  • psychological interventions
  • parenting

Published Papers (23 papers)

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Article
Identifying Profiles of Anxiety in Late Childhood and Exploring Their Relationship with School-Based Distress
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(3), 948; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18030948 - 22 Jan 2021
Viewed by 848
Abstract
Failure in dealing with anxiety-provoking situations and stressors in the school setting may have negative consequences not only on children’s performance, but also on their well-being in the future. This research aimed to examine the relationship of forms of anxiety (anticipatory anxiety, school-based [...] Read more.
Failure in dealing with anxiety-provoking situations and stressors in the school setting may have negative consequences not only on children’s performance, but also on their well-being in the future. This research aimed to examine the relationship of forms of anxiety (anticipatory anxiety, school-based performance anxiety, and generalized anxiety) with sources (teacher interactions, academic stress, peer interactions, and academic self-concept) and manifestations (emotional, behavioral, and physiological) of school-based distress. Specifically, our objectives were to examine the correlations between anxiety and school-based distress and, using a person-centered approach, to verify whether different anxiety profiles differed in their levels of distress. The Visual Analogue Scale for Anxiety-Revised (VAA-R) and the School Situation Survey (SSS) were administered to 756 Spanish students (Mage = 9.6, SD = 1.12); 50.3% were girls. Pearson’s correlation coefficients revealed a positive and significant association between each form of anxiety and each source and manifestation of distress. The latent profile analysis identified three anxiety profiles: High Anxiety, High School-based performance Anxiety, and Low Anxiety. The High Anxiety profile scored significantly higher in all sources and manifestations of distress than the Low Anxiety profile. The High Anxiety profile showed significantly higher scores in peer interactions and emotional and behavioral manifestations of distress than the group High School-based performance Anxiety. Suggestions for intervention strategies according to the risk profile are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Children Development and Health Care in Stress and Wellbeing Contexts)
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Article
Active Parents–Active Children—A Study among Families with Children and Adolescents with Down Syndrome
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(2), 660; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18020660 - 14 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 924
Abstract
From a public health perspective, it is important that children with Down syndrome (DS) lay the foundations of physical activity (PA) early in life to keep active in school, as teenagers and as adults. The aims were to investigate PA patterns in children [...] Read more.
From a public health perspective, it is important that children with Down syndrome (DS) lay the foundations of physical activity (PA) early in life to keep active in school, as teenagers and as adults. The aims were to investigate PA patterns in children and adolescents with DS, as well as their parents’ and siblings’ PA patterns. Methods: A survey was performed among 310 families with children with DS (54% boys and 46% girls) aged 8–18 years (mean 14.04, SD 3.18) in Sweden. Chi-squared tests and multiple logistic regression were carried out. Results: Nineteen percent of children and adolescents with DS and 34% of the parents were active three or more times per week. The child’s PA level was significantly associated with parents’ PA (OR = 5.5), siblings’ PA (OR = 5.1) and the child’s locomotion ability (OR = 3.5). Physically active parents had active children to a greater extent than inactive parents (59% vs. 29%; p < 0.001). Conclusions: Physically active parents have active children. To promote PA among children and adolescents with DS, it is important to promote and pay attention to the parents’ and siblings’ PA behavior, as children with DS are dependent on support from the family. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Children Development and Health Care in Stress and Wellbeing Contexts)
Article
Development and Validation of Breadcrumbing in Affective-Sexual Relationships (BREAD-ASR) Questionnaire: Introducing a New Online Dating Perpetration
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(24), 9548; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17249548 - 20 Dec 2020
Viewed by 814
Abstract
New technologies are changing people’s lifestyles and in turn, their way of relating to and interacting with others. Breadcrumbing is one of the new 2.0 concepts linked to the virtual relationship paradigm. This study aimed to design and psychometrically test the Breadcrumbing in [...] Read more.
New technologies are changing people’s lifestyles and in turn, their way of relating to and interacting with others. Breadcrumbing is one of the new 2.0 concepts linked to the virtual relationship paradigm. This study aimed to design and psychometrically test the Breadcrumbing in Affective-Sexual Relationships (BREAD-ASR) Questionnaire to explore breadcrumbing perpetration in adolescent relationships online. A total of 247 adolescents participated in a paper-and-pencil survey carried out from March to June 2019 in a high school in southeastern Spain. Psychometric analysis showed a satisfactory content and construct validity for the instrument. The ordinal alpha coefficient was 0.83, indicating the BREAD-ASR questionnaire had good internal consistency. The BREAD-ASR questionnaire constitutes a valid and reliable instrument which can be used by health professionals in screenings for breadcrumbing perpetration and to design effective prevention and intervention programs in the community, which may help and support adolescents and families to deal with new forms of online relationships and perpetration successfully. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Children Development and Health Care in Stress and Wellbeing Contexts)
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Article
Stress, Resilience, and Well-Being in Italian Children and Their Parents during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(22), 8297; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17228297 - 10 Nov 2020
Cited by 19 | Viewed by 3059
Abstract
The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has forced parents and children to adopt significant changes in their daily routine, which has been a big challenge for families, with important implications for family stress. In this study, we aimed to analyze the potential risk and [...] Read more.
The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has forced parents and children to adopt significant changes in their daily routine, which has been a big challenge for families, with important implications for family stress. In this study, we aimed to analyze the potential risk and protective factors for parents’ and children’s well-being during a potentially traumatic event such as the COVID-19 quarantine. Specifically, we investigated parents’ and children’s well-being, parental stress, and children’s resilience. The study involved 463 Italian parents of children aged 5–17. All participants completed an online survey consisting of the Psychological General Well Being Index (PGWB) to assess parental well-being, the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) to measure children’s well-being, the Parent Stress Scale (PSS) to investigate parental stress, and the Child and Youth Resilience Measure (CYRM-R) to measure children’s resilience. The results show that confinement measures and changes in daily routine negatively affect parents’ psychological dimensions, thus exposing children to a significant risk for their well-being. Our results also detect some risk factors for psychological maladjustments, such as parental stress, lower levels of resilience in children, changes in working conditions, and parental psychological, physical, or genetic problems. In this study, we attempted to identify the personal and contextual variables involved in the psychological adjustment to the COVID-19 quarantine to identify families at risk for maladjustment and pave the way for ad hoc intervention programs intended to support them. Our data show promising results for the early detection of the determinants of families’ psychological health. It is important to focus attention on the needs of families and children—including their mental health—to mitigate the health and economic implications of the COVID-19 pandemic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Children Development and Health Care in Stress and Wellbeing Contexts)
Article
Adaptation and Integration of Psychosocial Stimulation, Maternal Mental Health and Nutritional Interventions for Pregnant and Lactating Women in Rural Bangladesh
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(17), 6233; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17176233 - 27 Aug 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1160
Abstract
Supporting caregivers’ mental wellbeing and ability to provide psychosocial stimulation may promote early childhood development. This paper describes the systematic approach of developing an integrated stimulation intervention, identifying the feasibility and challenges faced throughout the period. We developed an integrated curriculum by culturally [...] Read more.
Supporting caregivers’ mental wellbeing and ability to provide psychosocial stimulation may promote early childhood development. This paper describes the systematic approach of developing an integrated stimulation intervention, identifying the feasibility and challenges faced throughout the period. We developed an integrated curriculum by culturally adapting three interventions (Reach Up, Thinking Healthy, and general nutrition advice) and piloted this curriculum (Mar–April 2017) in courtyard groups sessions and individual home visits with pregnant women (n = 11) and lactating mothers (of children <24 months) (n = 29). We conducted qualitative interviews with the participants (n = 8) and the community health workers who delivered the intervention (n = 2). Most participants reported willingness to attend the sessions if extended for 1 year, and recommended additional visual cues and interactive role-play activities to make the sessions more engaging. Participants and community health workers found it difficult to understand the concept of “unhealthy thoughts” in the curriculum. This component was then revised to include a simplified behavior-focused story. Community health workers reported difficulty balancing the required content of the integrated curriculum but were able to manage after the contents were reduced. The revised intervention is likely feasible to deliver to a group of pregnant and lactating mothers in a low-resource setting. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Children Development and Health Care in Stress and Wellbeing Contexts)
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Article
Mothers and Fathers Parenting Stress and Their Perception of Children’s Psychosocial Functioning in Paediatric Diabetes: A Pilot Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(13), 4734; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17134734 - 01 Jul 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 958
Abstract
(1) Background: In the context of a child with Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus (T1DM), the rearrangement of the family’s lifestyle can account for an increased risk of experiencing psychosocial problems for both child and parents. Those few studies on pediatric diabetes, which [...] Read more.
(1) Background: In the context of a child with Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus (T1DM), the rearrangement of the family’s lifestyle can account for an increased risk of experiencing psychosocial problems for both child and parents. Those few studies on pediatric diabetes, which focused on parents’ perception of children’s psychological strengths and weaknesses, reported significantly higher rates of children’s emotional and conduct problems associated with an imbalance in the Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c). The main aim of this paper was to assess the role of parental perception of children’s psychosocial symptoms as a mediator of the perceived parenting stress, considering mother and father separately. (2) Methods: The study involved 12 parent couples (Mothers Mage = 40.25, SD = 6.58; Fathers Mage = 42.5, SD = 6.38) of children with T1DM aged between 7 and 11 years (Mage = 8.8, SD = 0.996). Parents completed questionnaires such as the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire for parents and their perspective of their child, and the Parenting Stress Index–Short Form. (3) Results: Mothers and fathers had significant differences in the perception of their child’s internalizing symptoms. Specifically, mothers present a greater perception of the mentioned symptoms compared to fathers. Mediation models showed that only for fathers’ perception of the child conduct problems has a significant role between the fathers’ perception of dysfunctional interaction with the child and the HbA1c. (4) Conclusions: The current study provides useful evidence also for clinical settings, suggesting that an interesting interplay between parenting stress, perception of children’s symptoms and glucometabolic control should be taken into consideration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Children Development and Health Care in Stress and Wellbeing Contexts)
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Article
Are the Effects of Variation in Quantity of Daily Bilingual Exposure and Socioeconomic Status on Language and Cognitive Abilities Independent in Preschool Children?
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(12), 4570; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17124570 - 25 Jun 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 905
Abstract
Bilingual exposure (BE) and socioeconomic status (SES) are associated with children’s development, but their specific and unique effects are still unclear. This study analyzed the influence of these environmental factors on a set of cognitive and linguistic abilities in preschoolers to disentangle their [...] Read more.
Bilingual exposure (BE) and socioeconomic status (SES) are associated with children’s development, but their specific and unique effects are still unclear. This study analyzed the influence of these environmental factors on a set of cognitive and linguistic abilities in preschoolers to disentangle their effects. One hundred-eleven Italian-speaking preschool children (mean age = 61 months; SD = 6.8) growing in a monolingual or multilingual context completed an assessment of cognitive (theory of mind, inhibition, attention shifting and working memory) and linguistic abilities (vocabulary, grammar, narrative comprehension, lexical access). The results of hierarchical regressions with predictors variation in BE (both Length and Daily exposure) and SES on each ability, shown a specific contribution of variation in SES, after controlling for BE, in vocabulary, grammar, and working memory (WM), and a specific contribution of variation in BE, over and above effect of SES, in vocabulary, narrative comprehension and WM. In addition, we found an interaction between these factors in predicting the performance of the theory of mind task (ToM). To conclude, variations in BE and SES are related independently to individual differences in linguistic and cognitive skills of children in preschool. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Children Development and Health Care in Stress and Wellbeing Contexts)
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Article
Associations between Pretend Play, Psychological Functioning and Coping Strategies in Pediatric Chronic Diseases: A Cross-Illness Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(12), 4364; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17124364 - 18 Jun 2020
Viewed by 989
Abstract
Children with chronic illnesses are called to undertake complicated processes of adjustment and re-organization in their daily lives; as a result, they could experience several internalizing problems. Symbolic play could be a useful way to cope with these difficulties. The main aim of [...] Read more.
Children with chronic illnesses are called to undertake complicated processes of adjustment and re-organization in their daily lives; as a result, they could experience several internalizing problems. Symbolic play could be a useful way to cope with these difficulties. The main aim of this paper is to assess pretend play, coping, and psychological symptoms in three groups of school-aged children with pediatric chronic diseases. The study involved 44 Italian school-aged, chronically ill children: 16 with type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM), 12 with cystic fibrosis (CF), and 15 with Leukemia. All patients were assessed by the Affect in Play Scale–Brief version (APS-Br), and the Children’s Coping Strategies Checklist–Revision1 (CCSC-R1). Children with T1DM and CF also completed the Separation Anxiety Symptom Inventory for Children (SASI-C) and the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ)–children’s version. Cohen’s d (effect size) was applied between clinical and normative samples, and it showed a more organized play (APS-BR), but a more negative affect tone, comfort, and frequency of affect expression. Comparing APS-BR and CCSC-R1 rates between the three groups, significant differences were found for all the APS-BR dimensions, except for tone, and for CCSC-R1 seeking understanding. Comparing SASI-C score between T1DM and CF, higher scores were found for children with CF. In the end, correlations between all dimensions highlighted several relationships between play, coping, and adjustment problems for children with T1DM, and relationship between affect play and all variables for children with CF. Symbolic play helps chronically ill children to express emotions; helping them, as well as clinicians, to understand the difficulties caused by chronic conditions, and to cope with them. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Children Development and Health Care in Stress and Wellbeing Contexts)
Article
The Relationships between Economic Scarcity, Concrete Mindset and Risk Behavior: A Study of Nicaraguan Adolescents
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(11), 3845; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17113845 - 28 May 2020
Viewed by 938
Abstract
Background: Nicaragua is one of the poorest countries in Latin America, with an extremely low human development index (HDI). Fifty-two percent of the Nicaraguan population are children and adolescents under 18 years of age. Nicaraguan adolescents present several risk behaviors (such as teenage [...] Read more.
Background: Nicaragua is one of the poorest countries in Latin America, with an extremely low human development index (HDI). Fifty-two percent of the Nicaraguan population are children and adolescents under 18 years of age. Nicaraguan adolescents present several risk behaviors (such as teenage pregnancies, consumption of alcohol, tobacco, cannabis). Our study examines the links between risk behaviors, fatalism, real economic scarcity, and concrete construal level for adolescents with low and middle-low socioeconomic status in Nicaragua. Methods: Nicaraguan adolescents (N = 834) from schools located in especially vulnerable areas (low economic status) or in neighborhoods with middle-low social class completed several scales and questions to evaluate fatalism (SFC—social fatalism scale), construal level (BIF) and their past and future risk behaviors (smoking cigarettes, smoking cannabis, unsafe sex, and alcohol consumption). Results: We identified that the poorest individuals who maintained a concrete style of thinking had the highest rates of past and future risk behaviors. This vulnerable group also reported the highest levels of fatalism, i.e., negative attitudes and feelings of helplessness. Encouragingly, the adolescents who were able to maintain an abstract mindset reported healthier past and future habits and lower fatalism, even when they belonged to the lowest social status. In the middle-low economic group, the construal level was not as relevant to maintaining healthy habits, as adolescents reported similar rates of past and future risk behavior at both construal levels. Conclusions: All these results support the importance of considering construal level when studying vulnerable populations and designing risk prevention programs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Children Development and Health Care in Stress and Wellbeing Contexts)
Article
Coercive Parenting and Adolescent Developmental Outcomes: The Moderating Effects of Empathic Concern and Perception of Social Rejection
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(10), 3538; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17103538 - 19 May 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 929
Abstract
Previous studies have identified coercive parenting as a prevalent parenting style in Chinese society. They suggested that this style of parenting could promote prosocial behavior and school commitment when combined with close monitoring and proper training, but it could also undermine mental health. [...] Read more.
Previous studies have identified coercive parenting as a prevalent parenting style in Chinese society. They suggested that this style of parenting could promote prosocial behavior and school commitment when combined with close monitoring and proper training, but it could also undermine mental health. This study critically examines these claims. Based on the existing theory and research, it is predicted that the influences of coercive parenting on adolescent development vary according to adolescent personal attributes including empathic concern and perception of social rejection. Through the analysis of two-wave survey data collected from a probability sample of 1085 Chinese adolescents, this study found that adolescents with higher levels of empathic concern and perceived social rejection reported less delinquency and stronger school commitment than their peers with lower levels of such attributes, when coercive parenting was low to moderate. However, under the condition of excessive coercive control, these adolescents demonstrated more delinquency and weaker school commitment. Empathic concern and perception of social rejection, on the other hand, played no or limited role in moderating the relationship between coercive parenting and depression. These results suggest that the influences of coercive parenting are dynamic and are subject to change as they interact with adolescent personal characteristics across different developmental domains. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Children Development and Health Care in Stress and Wellbeing Contexts)
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Article
Evaluation of Functional Abilities in 0–6 Year Olds: An Analysis with the eEarlyCare Computer Application
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(9), 3315; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17093315 - 09 May 2020
Viewed by 1118
Abstract
The application of Industry 4.0 to the field of Health Sciences facilitates precise diagnosis and therapy determination. In particular, its effectiveness has been proven in the development of personalized therapeutic intervention programs. The objectives of this study were (1) to develop a computer [...] Read more.
The application of Industry 4.0 to the field of Health Sciences facilitates precise diagnosis and therapy determination. In particular, its effectiveness has been proven in the development of personalized therapeutic intervention programs. The objectives of this study were (1) to develop a computer application that allows the recording of the observational assessment of users aged 0–6 years old with impairment in functional areas and (2) to assess the effectiveness of computer application. We worked with a sample of 22 users with different degrees of cognitive disability at ages 0–6. The eEarlyCare computer application was developed with the aim of allowing the recording of the results of an evaluation of functional abilities and the interpretation of the results by a comparison with "normal development". In addition, the Machine Learning techniques of supervised and unsupervised learning were applied. The most relevant functional areas were predicted. Furthermore, three clusters of functional development were found. These did not always correspond to the disability degree. These data were visualized with distance map techniques. The use of computer applications together with Machine Learning techniques was shown to facilitate accurate diagnosis and therapeutic intervention. Future studies will address research in other user cohorts and expand the functionality of their application to personalized therapeutic programs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Children Development and Health Care in Stress and Wellbeing Contexts)
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Article
Receptive and Expressive Vocabulary Skills and Their Correlates in Mandarin-Speaking Infants with Unrepaired Cleft Lip and/or Palate
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(9), 3015; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17093015 - 26 Apr 2020
Viewed by 1112
Abstract
Background: Vocabulary skills in infants with cleft lip and/or palate (CL/P) are related to various factors. They remain underexplored among Mandarin-speaking infants with CL/P. This study identified receptive and expressive vocabulary skills among Mandarin-speaking infants with unrepaired CL/P prior to cleft palate surgery [...] Read more.
Background: Vocabulary skills in infants with cleft lip and/or palate (CL/P) are related to various factors. They remain underexplored among Mandarin-speaking infants with CL/P. This study identified receptive and expressive vocabulary skills among Mandarin-speaking infants with unrepaired CL/P prior to cleft palate surgery and their associated factors. Methods: This is a cross-sectional study involving patients at the Cleft Lip and Palate Center of the Stomatological Hospital of Xi’an Jiaotong University between July 2017 and December 2018. The Putonghua Communicative Development Inventories-Short Form (PCDI-SF) was used to assess early vocabulary skills. Results: A total of 134 children aged 9–16 months prior to cleft palate surgery were included in the study. The prevalences of delays in receptive and expressive vocabulary skills were 72.39% (95% CI: 64.00–79.76%) and 85.07% (95% CI: 77.89–90.64%), respectively. Multiple logistic regression identified that children aged 11–13 months (OR = 6.46, 95% CI: 1.76–23.76) and 14–16 months (OR = 24.32, 95% CI: 3.86–153.05), and those with hard/soft cleft palate and soft cleft palate (HSCP/SCP) (OR = 5.63, 95% CI: 1.02–31.01) were more likely to be delayed in receptive vocabulary skills. Conclusions: Delays in vocabulary skills were common among Mandarin-speaking CL/P infants, and age was positively associated with impaired and lagging vocabulary skills. The findings suggest the necessity and importance of early and effective identification of CL/P, and early intervention programs and effective treatment are recommended for Chinese CL/P infants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Children Development and Health Care in Stress and Wellbeing Contexts)
Article
The Investigation of Gender Differences in Subjective Wellbeing in Children and Adolescents: The UP&DOWN Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(8), 2732; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17082732 - 15 Apr 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1270
Abstract
Objective: Based on a three-factor model of subjective wellbeing (evaluative, hedonic and eudemonic), the purpose of this study was to analyze gender differences in children and adolescents through three different subjective wellbeing indicators. Method: The sample comprised 1.407 children and adolescents from Cadiz [...] Read more.
Objective: Based on a three-factor model of subjective wellbeing (evaluative, hedonic and eudemonic), the purpose of this study was to analyze gender differences in children and adolescents through three different subjective wellbeing indicators. Method: The sample comprised 1.407 children and adolescents from Cadiz and Madrid (Spain), in the framework of the UP&DOWN study. Life satisfaction was measured with the subjective happiness scale, positive and negative affect were measured with the positive and negative affect schedule, and purpose in life was assessed with the children’s hope scale. Results: Linear regression models indicate the existence of significant gender differences only in adolescents, with higher scores among girls in positive affect (p = 0.016) and negative affect (p < 0.001) but with lower scores in purpose in life (p = 0.024). Conclusions: These results highlight the role of gender as an important factor in explaining differences in subjective wellbeing. Additionally, results indicate that gender differences in subjective wellbeing are observed in adolescents, but not in children, suggesting that the gender gap in subjective wellbeing begins at the age of 12. Mental health practitioners should pay attention to these findings in order to implement screening methods and interventions focused on these needs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Children Development and Health Care in Stress and Wellbeing Contexts)
Article
Social Factors Associated with the Effectiveness of a Spanish Parent Training Program—An Opportunity to Reduce Health Inequality Gap in Families
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(7), 2412; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17072412 - 02 Apr 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1033
Abstract
Parent training programs (PTPs) have been used extensively in Anglo-Saxon countries, but less so in Southern Europe. Several characteristics of families have been linked to effective parenting and positive development of children, but few studies have examined the social determinants of the effectiveness [...] Read more.
Parent training programs (PTPs) have been used extensively in Anglo-Saxon countries, but less so in Southern Europe. Several characteristics of families have been linked to effective parenting and positive development of children, but few studies have examined the social determinants of the effectiveness of PTPs. The Parenting Skills Program for families (PSP) is a PTP from Spain. This study aimed to identify the social characteristics (sex, age, country of birth, marital status, educational level, and employment status) of parents that determine the success of the PSP in relation to social support, parenting skills, parental stress, and negative behaviors among children. A quasi-experimental study with a prepost design with no control group was used. We conducted a survey before (T0) and after the intervention (T1). Sample size was 216. We fit multiple logistic regression models. Parenting skills increased more among parents with a lower educational level. Parents’ stress decreased more among parents who had a lower educational level, were unemployed, and were men. Social support increased among parents who were younger, unemployed, or non-cohabiting. We found no significant differences in the effect on children’s negative behaviors according to the social factors evaluated. The PSP is effective for socioeconomically diverse families, but the success differs according to the parents’ social profile. Unlike most previous studies, the results were better among more socially disadvantaged people, highlighting the potential of this kind of intervention for reducing the social inequality gap between groups. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Children Development and Health Care in Stress and Wellbeing Contexts)
Article
Who Benefits from An Intervention Program on Foundational Skills for Handwriting Addressed to Kindergarten Children and First Graders?
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(6), 2166; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17062166 - 24 Mar 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1821
Abstract
This study examined the effectiveness of a 10-wk intervention program based on occupational therapy principles on visual-motor integration skills and fine motor abilities in kindergartners and first graders. We recruited 55 students tested three times with the Visual-Motor Integration Test (VMI) and Movement [...] Read more.
This study examined the effectiveness of a 10-wk intervention program based on occupational therapy principles on visual-motor integration skills and fine motor abilities in kindergartners and first graders. We recruited 55 students tested three times with the Visual-Motor Integration Test (VMI) and Movement Assessment Battery for Children-2 (MABC-2): before the intervention (T1), post-intervention (T2) and one month later (T3). Research findings: Significant improvements were found on VMI between T1 and T2, particularly for kindergartners. Neither group of children demonstrated changes on manual dexterity scores. The present study showed that the intervention program led to different changes in the at-risk of motor impairment group than in the not at-risk children. Results indicated that games and stimulation activities helped children below the 16th percentile over time in the manual dexterity domain. A gender effect was observed, with female children increasing their abilities over time more than male peers. Future research should concentrate on stimulating fine motor skills in hand manipulation and test how these abilities influence graphomotor skills and handwriting over time. Finally, more research is needed to determine the impact of activities and games carried out in educational settings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Children Development and Health Care in Stress and Wellbeing Contexts)
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Article
Mindfulness and Coaching to Improve Learning Abilities in University Students: A Pilot Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(6), 1935; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17061935 - 16 Mar 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2213
Abstract
This pilot study investigated the effects of a short 10-module intervention called MEL (Mindful Effective Learning), which integrates mindfulness, coaching, and training on study strategies, to improve learning abilities among university students. Inspired by ample research on the learning topics that points out [...] Read more.
This pilot study investigated the effects of a short 10-module intervention called MEL (Mindful Effective Learning), which integrates mindfulness, coaching, and training on study strategies, to improve learning abilities among university students. Inspired by ample research on the learning topics that points out how effective learning and good academic results depend simultaneously on self-regulation while studying combined with emotional and motivational factors, the intervention aimed to train students simultaneously in these three aspects. The intervention group participants (N = 21) and the control group participants (N = 24) were surveyed pre- and post-intervention with the Italian questionnaire AMOS (Abilities and Motivation to Study) and the Italian version of the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS). The results showed that, regarding self-regulation in study, trained students improved their self-awareness, self-evaluation ability, metacognition skills, and organizational and elaborative ability to manage study materials; regarding emotional aspects, they improved their anxiety control; regarding motivation they developed an incremental theory of Self and improved their confidence in their own intelligence. Moreover, two follow-up self-report surveys were conducted, and trained students reported positive assessments of the MEL intervention. Findings suggest that a short intervention based on mindfulness and coaching and training on study strategies may improve students’ effective learning. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Children Development and Health Care in Stress and Wellbeing Contexts)
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Article
The Complex Relation between Executive Functions and Language in Preschoolers with Developmental Language Disorders
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(5), 1772; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17051772 - 09 Mar 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2219
Abstract
Backgrounds: The relationship between linguistic difficulties and cognitive impairments in children with developmental language disorders (DLDs) is receiving growing interest in international research. Executive functions (EF) appear to be weak in these children. The current investigation aims at exploring the relationship between [...] Read more.
Backgrounds: The relationship between linguistic difficulties and cognitive impairments in children with developmental language disorders (DLDs) is receiving growing interest in international research. Executive functions (EF) appear to be weak in these children. The current investigation aims at exploring the relationship between difficulties in two components of EF (i.e., updating and inhibition) and the linguistic and narrative skills of 16 DLD preschoolers matched with 24 typically developing peers. Methods: Updating skills were tested by administering the forward and backward digit recall subtests of the Wechsler Scales, while children’s inhibition abilities were assessed by completion of Developmental Neuropsychological Assessment (NEPSY-II) inhibition tasks. Information on the linguistic skills of the participants was collected through a set of subtests included in the Batteria per la Valutazione del Linguaggio in bambini dai 4 ai 12 anni (Batteria per la Valutazione del Linguaggio; BVL_4-12), assessing articulatory and phonological discrimination skills, lexical production/comprehension, grammatical production/comprehension, and narrative production skills. Results: Findings revealed that DLD children performed significantly lower than their peers on both updating and inhibitory tasks. Linguistic difficulties were found in the DLD group on articulatory/phonological skills, grammatical production/comprehension, and lexical informativeness on narrative production. Measures of EF correlated with linguistic and narrative measures. Conclusion: The current study confirms a significant association between DLD’s performances on EF and displayed linguistic skills, suggesting the need to include the assessment of executive functions to target early intervention rehabilitation programs for children with DLDs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Children Development and Health Care in Stress and Wellbeing Contexts)
Article
Psychological Wellbeing in Adolescents with Leukaemia: A Comparative Study with Typical Development Peers
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(2), 567; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17020567 - 16 Jan 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1101
Abstract
There is still little research on psychological wellbeing, life satisfaction and reported problems in preadolescents and adolescents under therapy for leukaemia, and also little research comparing them with their healthy peers. The present study aimed to analyse the life satisfaction, hope, psychological wellbeing [...] Read more.
There is still little research on psychological wellbeing, life satisfaction and reported problems in preadolescents and adolescents under therapy for leukaemia, and also little research comparing them with their healthy peers. The present study aimed to analyse the life satisfaction, hope, psychological wellbeing and reported problems’ intensity in 60 patients aged 8–18 during the first year of therapy, to identify those more at risk and to compare their reports with matched healthy peers. A battery of self-reported questionnaires was administered during hospitalisation or day hospital admissions post 6 months and post 12 months from the diagnosis. Younger patients (aged 8–13 years) were more at risk than older ones in their problems’ intensity and psychological symptoms; females and Acute Myeloid Leukaemia patients reported lower current life satisfaction perceptions; hope was associated with lower depression symptoms and mood problems. Healthy peers have a better perception of current life, but reported a lower hope score, more anxiety symptoms and more cognitive problems than patients. The first 6 months were more critical for patients’ psychological health. Basing on these empirical data, the inclusion of mental health care professionals or supportive psychotherapy into the treatment is recognized as extremely useful. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Children Development and Health Care in Stress and Wellbeing Contexts)
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Article
Does Hydrotherapy Impact Behaviours Related to Mental Health and Well-Being for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder? A Randomised Crossover-Controlled Pilot Trial
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(2), 558; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17020558 - 15 Jan 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 4397
Abstract
Background: Children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are less physically active than typically developing children due to reduced socialisation and delayed gross-motor skills, negatively impacting social, emotional and physical well-being. This study aimed to determine whether hydrotherapy influences behaviours which impact mental [...] Read more.
Background: Children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are less physically active than typically developing children due to reduced socialisation and delayed gross-motor skills, negatively impacting social, emotional and physical well-being. This study aimed to determine whether hydrotherapy influences behaviours which impact mental health and well-being in children with ASD. Methods: A within-subjects, randomised crossover-controlled pilot trial was used over 8 weeks. Children aged 6–12 years and diagnosed with ASD (n = 8) were randomly allocated to Group 1 (n = 4) or Group 2 (n = 4). All children participated in hydrotherapy intervention from either weeks 1 to 4 or weeks 5 to 8. The Child Behaviour Checklist (CBCL) measured behaviour changes impacting mental health and well-being, administered at weeks 0, 4 and 8. Results: No observable differences were found in CBCL subscales between Group 1 or 2 at baseline (week 0). Paired-samples t-tests revealed significant improvements post-intervention: Anxious/Depressed subdomain (p = 0.02) and the Internalising Problems Domain Summary (p = 0.026), with large effect size (d = 1.03 and d = 1.06 respectively). Thought Problems (p = 0.03) and Attention Problems (p = 0.01) both significantly improved post-intervention. The Total Problems score significantly improved post-intervention (p = 0.018) with a large effect size (d = 1.04). Conclusion: Hydrotherapy may enhance behaviours impacting mental health and well-being of children with ASD and could be considered a beneficial therapy option. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Children Development and Health Care in Stress and Wellbeing Contexts)
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Article
Effect of Parental Migration on the Intellectual and Physical Development of Early School-Aged Children in Rural China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(1), 339; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17010339 - 03 Jan 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1126
Abstract
Objective: The purpose of this study is to estimate the effect of parent migration on intellectual and physical development of early school-aged children in rural China. Design: setting and participants: The present cross-sectional study participants were a subset from a controlled, cluster-randomized, double-blind [...] Read more.
Objective: The purpose of this study is to estimate the effect of parent migration on intellectual and physical development of early school-aged children in rural China. Design: setting and participants: The present cross-sectional study participants were a subset from a controlled, cluster-randomized, double-blind trial. From October 2012 to September 2013, the offspring of women who participated in a large trial were examined in the present study. Wechsler intelligence scale for children (WISC-IV) in which validity and reliability were shown to be satisfactory was used to measure the intellectual function and trained anthropometrists measured weight and height of children using standard procedures. Results: The mean difference of FSIQ scores between non-migration and both-parent migration groups was −3.68 (95%CI: −5.49, −1.87). After adjusting for the confounders, the mean difference of full-scale IQ between non-migration and both-parent migration group was −1.97 (95%CI: −3.92, −0.01), the mean differences of perceptual reasoning index and processing speed index were −2.41 (95%CI: −4.50, −0.31) and −2.39 (95%CI: −4.42, −0.35) between two groups respectively. Conclusion: Our results emphasized the impairment of both-parental migration in intellectual function (FSIQ, PRI, PSI) of children. These findings have important policy implications for the Chinese government to prevent the impairment of left-behind children. Further research is required to clarify the mechanisms by which both-parental migration influence the impairment in intellectual function of children. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Children Development and Health Care in Stress and Wellbeing Contexts)
Article
Sex Differences in the Relationship between Student School Burnout and Problematic Internet Use among Adolescents
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(21), 4107; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16214107 - 24 Oct 2019
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 2428
Abstract
Background: The Internet has many positive sides, but it can also have a negative impact on human emotional-cognitive and behavioral functioning, especially during adolescence. To the most common consequences, the authors add addiction of the teenager to the Internet. This addiction is related [...] Read more.
Background: The Internet has many positive sides, but it can also have a negative impact on human emotional-cognitive and behavioral functioning, especially during adolescence. To the most common consequences, the authors add addiction of the teenager to the Internet. This addiction is related to many negative physical and mental problems, including depression, substance abuse and social isolation. Methods: In the study, SSBS (Student School Burnout Scale) was used to measure the level of burnout, and the level of Internet addiction was measured using PUI (Internet Addiction Test). The research was carried out among 230 individuals aged 17–20 years. Results: The results of the research showed that higher level of school burnout is related to higher Internet addiction indicators, and connection was stronger in the male group. Gender significantly predicted Internet addiction and moderated the link between school burnout and Internet addiction. Hierarchical multiple regression analyses confirmed different predictors of Internet addiction for male and female students. However, for both groups, higher burnout due to parents was a significant predictor of Internet addiction (IA). Discussion: Internet addiction was predicted by school burnout, appearing as a result of parental pressure for high school achievements. In addition, school burnout and school-related characteristics have greater prediction power of Internet addiction and its indicators in a male group. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Children Development and Health Care in Stress and Wellbeing Contexts)

Review

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Review
Methodological Issues in the Study of the Development of Pain Responsivity in Preterm Neonates: A Systematic Review
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(10), 3507; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17103507 - 17 May 2020
Viewed by 1197
Abstract
The study of the development of neonatal pain responses is of key importance, both for research and for clinical reasons, with particular regard to the population of preterm neonates, given the amount of painful procedures they are exposed to on a daily basis. [...] Read more.
The study of the development of neonatal pain responses is of key importance, both for research and for clinical reasons, with particular regard to the population of preterm neonates, given the amount of painful procedures they are exposed to on a daily basis. The aim of this work was to systematize our knowledge about the development of pain responses in prematurely born neonates by focusing on some key methodological issues. Studies on the impact of age variables, namely gestational age (GA), postmenstrual age (PMA) and chronological age (CH), on pain responsivity in premature neonates were identified using Medline and Scopus. Studies (N = 42) were categorized based on terminological and methodological approaches towards age variables, and according to output variables considered (facial, nonfacial behavioral, physiological). Distinct multidimensional developmental patterns were found for each age-sampling strategy. Overall, each of the three age variables seems to affect pain responsivity, possibly differently across age windows. Targeted as well as integrated approaches, together with a renewed attention for methodological consistency, are needed to further our knowledge on this topic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Children Development and Health Care in Stress and Wellbeing Contexts)
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Other

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Concept Paper
Risk Factors and Behaviours of Schoolchildren with Myopia in Taiwan
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(6), 1967; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17061967 - 17 Mar 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1151
Abstract
Importance: Because of the high prevalence of myopia in Taiwan, understanding the risk factors for its development and progression is important to public health. Background: This study investigated the risk factors for myopia and their influence on the progression of myopia in schoolchildren [...] Read more.
Importance: Because of the high prevalence of myopia in Taiwan, understanding the risk factors for its development and progression is important to public health. Background: This study investigated the risk factors for myopia and their influence on the progression of myopia in schoolchildren in Taiwan. Design: Patients’ clinical records were obtained retrospectively from ophthalmologists. Questionnaires were given to collect demographic information, family background, hours spent on daily activities, myopia progression, and treatment methods. Participants: From a regional medical hospital in northern Taiwan, 522 schoolchildren with myopia participated in the study. Written informed consent was obtained from participants of legal age or the parents or legal guardians of younger children. Methods: Multivariable regression analyses were performed. Myopia measured in cycloplegic spherical equivalent (SE) was analysed, controlling for patients’ family and demographic information as well as their daily activity behaviours. Main Outcome Results: Children with high myopic parents were more myopic. Earlier onset age of myopia was associated with a higher level of myopia and greater annual myopic progression. Children reporting longer time usage of electronic devices had greater progression of myopia. Boys tended to be more myopic than girls. Lower levels of myopia were associated with more outdoor activities, and better vision care knowledge in children and parents. Conclusions and Relevance: In addition to genetics, education and environment can influence the development of myopia. Health policies for schoolchildren should promote protective activities and vision care knowledge at a young age, to protect the eyesight of schoolchildren. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Children Development and Health Care in Stress and Wellbeing Contexts)
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