Early behavioural problems linked to lower GCSE grades

August 22, 2013
Early behavioural problems linked to lower GCSE grades

As thousands of 16-year-olds find out their GCSE results, new research has found that three-year-olds who display hyperactivity, inattention or conduct problems are at risk of worse academic outcomes when GCSEs come around.

Researchers at the Universities of Nottingham and Bristol sampled over 11,000 children as part of the study funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

The research findings are published in the British Journal of Psychiatry.

Methodology

Parents were asked to complete a when their child was 47 months old (just before their fourth birthday) to assess whether their child showed signs of / or conduct problems. The children's were then assessed at 16 by looking at their GCSE results.

The sample were from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) in the UK, also known as the Children of the 90s study.

The results

After adjusting for variables such as IQ, maternal and paternal education, and parental social class, boys who displayed high levels of hyperactivity and inattention at 47 months (just before their fourth birthday) were found to be 33 per cent more likely to not achieve a minimum level of five good GCSE grades (A*-C) at 16.

For boys, both hyperactivity/inattention and conduct problems were associated with worse . On average, boys who displayed high levels of hyperactivity/inattention at 47 months scored 10 fewer points (equivalent to 1.67 GCSE grades) at 16. Boys with abnormal conduct at three scored 15 fewer points (equivalent to 2.5 GCSE grades) than boys with normal scores.

For girls, the effect of conduct problems on education achievement was comparable to boys. Girls with borderline scores for conduct problems scored nine fewer points (equivalent to 1.5 GCSE grades) at 16. Additionally, girls with abnormal scores scored 12 few points (equivalent to two GCSE grades) than girls with normal scores.

Early identification of behavioural problems

The findings of the research have a range of ramifications about the implications of early behaviour difficulties, as well as the importance of taking parental concerns seriously.

Dr Kapil Sayal, Reader in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at The University of Nottingham, was one of the key researchers. He believes there is a clear link between behavioural problems at three and academic attainment at 16.

He said: "Our findings raise questions about early identification of children with hyperactivity and attention problems. Although there is little evidence that routine screening for ADHD-type problems in the early school years is effective, teachers are well placed to identify young children with high levels of behavioural problems. Teachers should be encouraged to enhance their awareness of the long-term implications of early behavioural difficulties, and to take parental concerns about behaviour problems seriously.

"Health professionals should also inform the parents and teachers of young children with high levels of hyperactivity/inattention and about the long-term academic risks, so that help can be offered at school. Early academic support for children with these problems may help reduce the long-term risk of poorer academic outcomes."

Explore further: Research grasps in-utero testosterone and behaviour ties

Related Stories

Research grasps in-utero testosterone and behaviour ties

August 13, 2013
While childhood behavioural difficulties do not appear to be linked to increased testosterone exposure in the womb, a relationship between antenatal testosterone and attention span in boys and withdrawn behaviour in girls ...

School support for ADHD children may be missing the mark

August 29, 2011
New research from the University of Montreal shows that inattention, rather than hyperactivity, is the most important indicator when it comes to finishing a high school education. "Children with attention problems need preventative ...

Video game 'addiction' more likely with autism, ADHD

July 29, 2013
(HealthDay)—Boys with autism or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder are more at risk of addictive video game use than typically developing boys, according to new research.

Early poor mental health link to early puberty

April 2, 2013
(Medical Xpress)—Children who have an earlier onset of puberty have poorer mental health from as early as preschool age, a new study by Murdoch Childrens Research Institute has found.

Study suggests light drinking in pregnancy not linked to development problems in childhood

April 16, 2013
Light drinking during pregnancy is not linked to adverse behavioural or cognitive outcomes in childhood, suggests a new study published today (17 April) in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

Vitamin D does not boost kids' brainpower, study finds

April 11, 2012
High levels of vitamin D do not seem to boost teens' academic performance, indicates research published online in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

Recommended for you

Probing how Americans think about mental life

October 20, 2017
When Stanford researchers asked people to think about the sensations and emotions of inanimate or non-human entities, they got a glimpse into how those people think about mental life.

Itsy bitsy spider: Fear of spiders and snakes is deeply embedded in us

October 19, 2017
Snakes and spiders evoke fear and disgust in many people, even in developed countries where hardly anybody comes into contact with them. Until now, there has been debate about whether this aversion is innate or learnt. Scientists ...

Dutch courage—Alcohol improves foreign language skills

October 18, 2017
A new study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, conducted by researchers from the University of Liverpool, Maastricht University and King's College London, shows that bilingual speakers' ability to speak a second ...

Inflamed support cells appear to contribute to some kinds of autism

October 18, 2017
Modeling the interplay between neurons and astrocytes derived from children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine, with colleagues in Brazil, say innate ...

Study suggests psychedelic drugs could reduce criminal behavior

October 18, 2017
Classic psychedelics such as psilocybin (often called magic mushrooms), LSD and mescaline (found in peyote) are associated with a decreased likelihood of antisocial criminal behavior, according to new research from investigators ...

Taking probiotics may reduce postnatal depression

October 18, 2017
Researchers from the University of Auckland and Otago have found evidence that a probiotic given in pregnancy can help prevent or treat symptoms of postnatal depression and anxiety.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.