B589 - The predictive validity of infant temperament on childhood mental health problems - 27/11/2007

B number: 
Principal applicant name: 
Dr Kapil Sayal (University of Nottingham, UK)
Dr Paul Ramchandani (Imperial College London, UK)
Title of project: 
The predictive validity of infant temperament on childhood mental health problems
Proposal summary: 

Research Questions

1) Do temperamental characteristics up to the age of 3 years predict later mental health problems?

2) Which temperamental traits best predict psychiatric disorder at the age of 7 years?

3) Can temperamental characteristics in infancy (age 6 months) predict later psychiatric disorder?


In recent years, there has been increasing interest in the early identification of and the development of interventions for infant mental health problems. It is unclear as to which children grow out of these difficulties and which might benefit from further monitoring and assessment by child health and educational professionals. In particular, we wish to investigate whether parent-identified temperamental traits up to the age of 3 years predict an independent diagnosis of psychiatric disorder at age 7 that also takes information from teachers into account?

Key Measures

Predictor: Temperament measures - the Carey scales at 6 and 24 months & EAS scale at 38 months

Outcomes: Child mental health - externalising and internalising problems as measured by the SDQ at later time points, parent and teacher DAWBAs, & Mood & Feelings Questionnaires.

Confounder variables: The analyses will control for key confounding factors including child gender and maternal mental health.

Analytical Approach: Following initial bivariate analyses, multivariable logistic regression analyses will assess the effect of temperament measures at each time point on the presence of any psychiatric disorder at age 7. Maternal EPDS will be included at each time point to cover rater factors. As sample attrition may be related to both the exposure and outcome, response status at follow-up will be related to baseline variables.

Concept Specific measure Person Source Time point(s)

Temperament Carey & EAS scale Mother Questionnaire Birth to 3 years

Mental Health SDQ Mother Questionnaire 47 months to 13 years

Mental Health SDQ Teacher Questionnaire 93-108 months

Mental Health DAWBA Mother &Teacher Questionnaire 7 years to 13 years

Mental Health MFQ Mother Questionnaire 9 years to 13 years

Maternal EPDS Mother Questionnaire Birth to 5 years Depression

Date proposal received: 
Tuesday, 27 November, 2007
Date proposal approved: 
Tuesday, 27 November, 2007
ADHD, Behavioural Problems
Primary keyword: