Anxiety disorders It is one of the most common mental disorders in children and adolescents. They appear and can be diagnosed at preschool age, half being diagnosed at six years of age.
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Anxiety in early childhood is consistently associated with anxiety symptoms in childhood, adolescence and adulthood, and low quality of life.
We are researchers at the Offford Center for Child Studies in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences at McMaster University. With colleagues, we a Population– A detailed study of kindergarten-age children who attended public schools across Canada between 2004 and 2015. To our knowledge, this study provided the first Canada-wide snapshot of anxiety symptoms among children entering school.
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Our results show that children who show signs of anxiety in kindergarten should not be ignored. Children with high levels of anxiety are three to six times more likely to have impaired areas of development than those with very low levels of these symptoms.
This study also provides an estimate of the prevalence of anxiety symptoms in kindergarten-age children in Canada. These, in the future, may serve as the basis for later comparison of groups of children Covid-19 epidemic.
Adversely affects development
Anxiety can have adverse effects Child developmentIf the child’s anxiety level falls below what doctors consider an anxiety disorder. Experiencing anxiety symptoms can also interfere with children’s work, for example, if children keep them away from situations that make them feel anxious.
Early detection and intervention are critical to mitigating the long-term effects of increasing anxiety rates among children and young people since 2020.
Information about Prevalence Anxiety disorders are much more limited in young children than in older children. There is also limited evidence that anxiety symptoms in young children may be related to aspects of their development that are critical to success in school.
In a 2008 study, Psychology researchers Kindergarteners with high levels of anxiety from University Level and University de Montreal were at greater risk of not completing high school than their non-anxious peers.
This was also the case when accounting for other risk factors Aggression, Over-activism, academic achievement and family problems. These results indicate how children behave, behave and feel in kindergarten years later can predict educational outcomes.
Our study sought to better understand the anxiety of kindergarten children. Our results can be used to study similar subgroups of the population. In Ontario, for example, we have linked some preliminary child development data to standardized test scores in grades 3, 6, 9 and 10, but have not yet completed our study.
Symptoms of anxiety
We aimed to determine the percentage of children in kindergarten in publicly funded schools Canada Showing signs of anxiety. We collected data from children in 12 of Canada’s 13 provinces and territories (with the exception of Nunavut).
We used data collected through the Early Development Tool (EDI), a teacher-complete checklist that measures the five main domains of development: physical health and well-being; Social capacity; Emotional maturity; Language and cognitive development; And communication skills and general knowledge.
There are 16 subdomains under these five domains, including an anxious and fearful subdomain that falls under the emotional maturity domain, and include symptoms of anxiety. We used this in our study to classify children as extremely anxious.
The study population included 1,038,354 children attending publicly funded schools whose teachers had completed EDI between 2004 and 2015. Most of the EDI data in this study are government-funded, fully provincial or Regional data collection.
The way provinces and territories collect EDI data varies: for example, in Ontario, all schools participated in three different data collection windows every three years (2004-06; 2007-09; 2010-12). In 2015, however, the province switched to the one-year model and collected all provincial EDI data in one year.
The relationship between anxiety and risk
We’ve got about three percent Kindergarteners Evaluated by their teachers as being extremely anxious.
Rates ranged from 1.1 percent in Prince Edward Island to 5 percent in the northwest.
We also looked at the relationship between them Symptoms of anxiety And weaknesses in other areas of development.
A child is considered weak in a given domain if their score on EDI is less than 10th percent based on national EDI scores.
A child classified as at risk is struggling in certain areas. Overall, anxious children were 3.5 to 6.1 times more likely to be impaired than their non-anxious peers in four areas of development: physical, social, language / cognitive, and Communication.
Subgroups of children
Children rated as highly anxious were younger and more likely to be male than their non-anxious peers, but the differences between these groups were quite small.
A large percentage of children considered highly anxious had special needs and English or French was the second language compared to non-anxious children. Other research has also been done Document associations Between anxiety and second language learning and anxiety and special needs. We found: 14.2 percent of children who were considered extremely anxious had English or French as a second Language. This rate is significantly higher than the 12.9 percent of non-anxious children who speak English or French as a second language; 11.1 percent of children with high anxiety were classified as having special needs (compared to 3.4 percent of non-anxious children). EDI captures “special needs” when a child is medically diagnosed or when a teacher sees a child in need of assistance in a class above the average child’s needs.
To put these figures in perspective, most of the children who are considered extremely anxious speak the language of school. Instruction As their home language (85.8 percent) and no special needs (89 percent).
A valuable source of information
Our study shows that teachers can be a valuable source of information about children’s behavior in school, the environment in which some children may be anxious, and anxiety in kindergarteners. Our study supports the notion that anxiety and other aspects of development are closely linked.
The results of this study could provide important information for policy. For example, there may be schools with high rates of anxious children Encouraged To practice class-level activities to reduce the long-term effects of anxiety in kindergarten.
Or, board-wide courses, Educational Services or programming can be developed and monitored to determine how specific groups of children are meeting needs: language learning and early childhood education specialists may be able to suggest interventions to reduce students’ anxiety over home language instruction.
Finally, this study also provides basic estimates of anxiety symptoms among kindergarten-age children in Canada. These, in the future, can be compared with data collected by the same method on kindergarten-aged students across Canada after COVID-19.
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