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What do we know about children's social, emotional and behavioural difficulties in Glasgow?

2 Oct 2013 | Louise Marryat

New results on Understanding Glasgow reveal the level of social, emotional and behavioural difficulties which children attending nurseries in Glasgow city are experiencing.

Where do the data come from?

All children in a Local Authority or Partnership nursery (that is, one where funding is given for children by the Local Authority) are having a Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) completed each year. The SDQ tells us about how children are getting on in terms of their behaviour, emotional difficulties (for example, having many fears or worries), difficulties with friends, whether they have difficulties concentrating or with hyperactivity, and whether they are good at things like helping others if they are upset or volunteering to help adults. There are 25 questions altogether and these are added up to give a score for each area of the child’s development as well as an overall ‘Total Difficulties’ score.

Why are the data being collected?

The data are being collected as part of a much bigger project which is evaluating a new universal parenting programme in Glasgow city: Triple P. NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and Glasgow City Council want to know if having support for all parents in Glasgow city is making a difference to children’s lives. The best way to do that is to collect data for all children at different stages and see whether things are improving or not. In Glasgow city, children’s social, emotional and behavioural difficulties are being gathered at 30 months, nursery, Primary 3 and Primary 6.

What do the data tell us?

These results are for children attending nursery in 2012 and 2013. Most children were experiencing no difficulties in their social, emotional or behavioural development (85%). In the different areas assessed, children had the most difficulties with pro-social behaviours, e.g. volunteering to help others, and the least difficulties with emotional problems.

Some children were more likely to have difficulties than others. Boys were more likely than girls to experience difficulties. Children who had ever been ‘looked after’ by the local authority, either at home or away from home had more difficulties than those who had not. Children who lived in more deprived areas of Glasgow city were more likely to have social, emotional and behavioural difficulties compared with children from more affluent areas.

Springburn, Calton and Baillieston had the highest proportions of children with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties: one in ten children had difficulties in these areas. The area with the lowest proportion of children with difficulties was Pollokshields, where just one in 33 children was experiencing difficulties.

Further detailed information is available on the Understanding Glasgow website.

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