Highlights in Child Mental Health Research: February 2019

Various, Australia, 2019

This research summary provides a selection of recently released systematic reviews, papers and meta-analyses related to infant and child mental health and relevant to the work of the National Workforce Centre for Child Mental Health. Abstracts and links to full-text articles, where available, are provided.

 

The association between child adolescent depression and poor attendance at school: A systematic review and meta-analysis (Finning K; Ukoumunne OC; Ford T; Danielsson-Waters E; Shaw L; Romero De Jager I; Stentiford L; Moore DA)

Depression in young people may lead to reduced school attendance through social withdrawal, loss of motivation, sleep disturbance and low energy. We systematically reviewed the evidence for an association between depression and poor school attendance.

Background: Depression in young people may lead to reduced school attendance through social withdrawal, loss of motivation, sleep disturbance and low energy. We systematically reviewed the evidence for an association between depression and poor school attendance.

Conclusions: Findings suggest associations between depression and poor school attendance, particularly absenteeism and unexcused absences/truancy. Clinicians and school staff should be alert to the possibility of depression in children and adolescents with poor attendance. Future research should utilise longitudinal data to confirm the direction of the association, investigate associations with excused absences, and test potential moderators of the relationship.

Journal of Affective Disorders

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The association between poor reading and internalising problems: A systematic review and meta-analysis (Francis, Deanna A.; Caruana, Nathan; Hudson, Jennifer L.; McArthur, Genevieve M.)

Numerous studies have demonstrated an association between learning disabilities and internalising problems such as anxiety and depression. However, the understanding of this association for people with specific types of learning disability (such as poor reading) is poorly understood. Here is presented the first systematic review and meta-analysis of studies that have examined associations between poor reading and internalising problems (including anxiety and depression) in children, adolescents, and adults.

Clinical Psychology Review
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Illness representations among parents of children and adults with serious mental disorders: A systematic review and theoretical model (Hasson-Ohayon I; Goldzweig G; Lavi-Rotenberg A; Roe D; Pijnenborg GHM.)

Objective: Cognitive representations of an illness have an important impact on psychological outcomes. The current systematic review explored 1) the characteristics of illness representations held by parents of children and adults with serious mental illness (SMI), and 2) the associations of these representations with both parents’ and patients’ psychological outcomes.

Conclusion: Parents struggle to make meaning of their child’s illness, often holding stigmatizing ideas about the illness and blaming themselves for its existence. More longitudinal studies that include both of the child’s parents, as well as interventional studies, are needed to expand our knowledge of ways to help parents construct more beneficial representations of their children’s illnesses.

European Psychiatry: The Journal Of The Association Of European Psychiatrists
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Mental health literacy programs for school teachers: A systematic review and narrative synthesis (Yamaguchi, Satoshi; Foo, Jerome C.; Nishida, Asuka; Ogawa, Sayoko; Togo, Fumiharu; Sasaki, Tsukasa)

Aim: The prevalence of mental disorders increases sharply during adolescence. Therefore, school teachers are in a good position to provide initial assistance to students with mental health problems. Although effects of a number of mental health literacy programs aimed at teachers have been reported, they have not yet been reviewed in a systematic manner. This study conducted a systematic review of the effectiveness of mental health literacy programs for teachers.

Conclusions: More high quality evidence is required before the effectiveness of mental health literacy programs for teachers can be established.

Early Intervention in Psychiatry
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Maternal adverse childhood experiences, mental health, and child behaviour at age 3: The all our families community cohort study (Canada) (McDonald, S.W. & Madigan, Sheri & Racine, Nicole & Benzies, K & Tomfohr, Lianne & Tough, S.)

Links between adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and threats to health and well-being later in life are well established. The current study extends those findings into younger populations of pregnant women and their children; investigating how ACEs relates to maternal postpartum well-being, coping, and parenting, as well as child outcomes. Participants included 1994 mothers and children from the All Our Families community-based cohort in Alberta, Canada, followed from pregnancy (from 2008 to 2011) until child age 3 years.

The demonstrated downstream consequences of maternal ACEs for child outcomes suggests that early intervention strategies and community resources to improve life course outcomes for parents and children are critical for breaking intergenerational continuities of risk.

Preventative Medicine
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Fostering Resilience in Children: The Essential Role of Healthcare Professionals and Families (Europe) (Pettoello-Mantovani M; Pop TL; Mestrovic J; Ferrara P; Giardino I; Carrasco-Sanz A; Nigri L; Namazova-Baranova L; Vural M; Çokuğraş FÇ)

In our complex society, stressful or negative life experiences have typically been considered to induce a substantial change from one set of living conditions to another. Life remodeling, resulting from adversities, involves significant challenges because of the need to adapt to new circumstances. That may often impair the ability to cope with new life settings, exposing the risk of clinical distress and possible long-term psychological illnesses, resulting in symptoms of depression, anxiety, fatigue and stress.

The process of developing resilience in children and adolescents has progressively become of particular interest to health-care professionals and families because of its implications for the health of children and adolescents they care for. The authors of this commentary are part of a working group on social pediatrics supported by European national pediatric societies, members of the European Paediatric Association/Union of National European Paediatric Societies and Associations.

The Journal of Paediatrics
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A more extensive list of recently released research related to child mental health can be found here.