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Early predictors of behavioural problems in pre-schoolers: a longitudinal study of constitutional and environmental main and interaction effects
Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Division of Neuro and Inflammation Science. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.
Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Division of Clinical Sciences. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Region Östergötland, Center of Paediatrics and Gynaecology and Obstetrics, Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics in Linköping.
Department of Neuroscience, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden.
Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Division of Clinical Sciences. Linköping University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Region Östergötland, Center of Paediatrics and Gynaecology and Obstetrics, Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics in Linköping.
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2016 (English)In: BMC Pediatrics, ISSN 1471-2431, E-ISSN 1471-2431, Vol. 16Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: The early environment is important for child development and wellbeing. Gene-by-environment studies investigating the impact of the serotonin transporter genelinked polymorphic region (5-HTTLPR) and the Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) Val66Met polymorphisms by life events on mental health and behaviour problems have been inconclusive. Methodological differences regarding sample sizes, study population, definitions of adversities and measures of mental health problems obstacle their comparability. Furthermore, very few studies included children. The aim of this study was to examine the associations between a broad range of risk factors covering pregnancy and birth, genetic polymorphism, experience of multiple life events and psychosocial environment, and child behaviour at age three, using a comparably large, representative, population-based sample.

Methods: A total of 1,106 children, and their mothers, were followed from pregnancy to age three. Information on pregnancy and birth-related factors was retrieved from the Medical Birth Register. Questionnaires on depressive symptoms, child behaviour and child experiences of life events were filled in by the mothers. Child saliva samples were used for genotyping the 5-HTTLPR and BDNF Val66Met polymorphisms. Multiple logistic regression was used to investigate the association between psychological scales and genetic polymorphisms.

Results: Symptoms of postpartum depression increased the risk of both internalizing and externalizing problems. Experience of multiple life events was also a predictor of behavioural problems across the scales. No gene-by-environment or gene-bygene-by-environment interactions were found. Children of immigrants had an increased risk of internalizing problems and parental unemployment was significantly associated with both internalizing and externalizing type of problems.

Conclusion: This study shows the importance of the psychosocial environment for psychosocial health in preschool children, and adds to  the literature of null-findings of gene-by-environment effects of 5-HTTLPR and BDNF in children

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 16
National Category
Psychiatry
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-124207DOI: 10.1186/s12887-016-0614-xISI: 000377535800002OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-124207DiVA: diva2:896691
Note

Funding agencies:Funding was obtained from the Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research (FAS), the Swedish Research Council (VR), the Clas Groschinsky Memorial Foundation, Stockholm, Samariten Foundation, Stockholm, the Hallsten Research Foundation and ALF, County Council of Ostergotland.

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Available from: 2016-01-22 Created: 2016-01-22 Last updated: 2016-07-06Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. A Biopsychosocial and Long Term Perspective on Child Behavioral Problems: Impact of Risk and Resilience
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A Biopsychosocial and Long Term Perspective on Child Behavioral Problems: Impact of Risk and Resilience
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Mental health has become a prominent issue in society. Yet, much remains unknown about the etiology of psychiatric disorders. The aim of the present thesis was to investigate the association between biological, psychological and social factors of risk and resilience and behavioral problems in a birth cohort of Swedish children. 1723 mothers and their children were followed from birth to the age of 12 as part of the South East Sweden Birth Cohort Study (the SESBiC study). Information was gathered through register data, standardized questionnaires and DNA samples.

In study I, stability of maternal symptoms of depression and the impact on child behavior at age 12 were investigated. The prevalence of depressive symptoms was found to be 12.0 % postpartum. Symptoms of postpartum depression significantly increased the risk for subsequent depressive symptoms 12 years later in women. Children whose mothers reported concurrent symptoms of depression and anxiety had an increased risk for both internalizing and externalizing problems at age 12, but no long term effect on child behavior was seen for postpartum depressive symptoms. The greatest risk was seen for children whose mothers reported symptoms of depression on both occasions. In study II, the impact of gene-environment interaction of 5-HTTLPR and BDNF Val66Met and experience of life events together with symptoms of maternal depression and anxiety on child behavior at age 12 was studied. A main effect of 5-HTTLPR was noticed, but no geneenvironment effects were shown. Similarly to study I, concurrent symptoms of maternal depression and anxiety were an important predictor of child behavioral problems. A high degree of psychosocial stress around childbirth was found to have long lasting detrimental effects on child behavior, increasing the risk for internalizing problems at age 12. Study III investigated the impact of geneenvironment interactions of 5-HTTLPR and BDNF Val66Met and life events together with symptoms of maternal depression and birth characteristics on behavioral problems at age 3. Symptoms of postpartum depression were found to predict internalizing as well as externalizing problems in children three years later. Child experience of life events was a stable predictor of behavioral problems across the scales similar to sociodemographic factors such as parental immigration status and unemployment. No gene-environment interaction effects of 5-HTTLPR or BDNF Val66Met were shown. Study IV used the risk factors identified in studies I-III to investigate factors of resilience to behavioral problems at age 12. The l/l genotype of 5-HTTLPR was associated with a lower risk for behavioral problems at age 12, especially for children facing low adversity. Good social functioning was found to be a general resource factor, independent of the level of risk, while an easy temperament was associated with resilience for children with a high degree of adversity. However, effect sizes were small.

In summary, the results from the present thesis emphasize the importance of maternal mental health and sociodemographic factors for child mental health at ages 3 and 12, which must be taken into account in clinical settings. Moreover, it adds to the null-findings of the gene-environment effect of 5-HTTLPR and BDNF Val66Met on behavioral problems in children, but indicates a main effect of 5-HTTLPR on internalizing symptoms at age 12.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2016. 93 p.
Series
Linköping University Medical Dissertations, ISSN 0345-0082 ; 1500
Keyword
5-HTTLPR, BDNF Val66Met, maternal mental health, adversities, resilience, children
National Category
Psychiatry
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-124209 (URN)10.3384/diss.diva-124209 (DOI)978-91-7685-868-4 (Print) (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-02-19, Berzeliussalen, Campus US, Linköping, 09:00 (Swedish)
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Available from: 2016-01-22 Created: 2016-01-22 Last updated: 2016-02-09Bibliographically approved

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Agnafors, SaraSydsjö, GunillaBladh, MarieSvedin, Carl Göran
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Division of Neuro and Inflammation ScienceFaculty of Medicine and Health SciencesDivision of Clinical SciencesDepartment of Gynaecology and Obstetrics in LinköpingDepartment of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in Linköping
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BMC Pediatrics
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