Mental health of preschool children and their mothers in a mixed urban/rural population. I. Prevalence and ecological factors.
M J Thompson, J Stevenson, E Sonuga-Barke, P Nott, Z Bhatti, A Price, M Hudswell


BACKGROUND The prevalence rate of behaviour problems and maternal mental disturbance was estimated using a sample of 1047 families with a 3-year-old child from a mixed urban/rural area.

METHOD Parents completed the Child Behaviour Checklist, EAS Temperament Questionnaire, Weiss-Werry-Peters Activity Scale and the GHQ-30.

RESULTS The rate of behaviour problems (13.2%) was similar to that obtained in studies of urban children. The rate of maternal disturbance (27.6%) was lower than in other population samples. Few differences were found in the prevalence rates in the urban and rural areas.

CONCLUSIONS Preschool children and their parents living in non-urban areas had the same rates of problems as those in conurbations. The service needs of such families are similar regardless of locality.