Department Colloquium: Geographical variation in the strengths and difficulties of children in Glasgow

  • Sarah Barry (Speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation


Parenting is the single major factor implicated in health outcomes for children. The Child Mental Health in Education (ChiME) study aims to establish the variability in behavioural difficulties across the city after the introduction of the whole population Parenting Support Framework (PSF) in Glasgow.

Data was available from the 2010, 2011 and 2012 cohorts of children transferring from local authority or public-private partnership preschools to primary school at approximately five years of age. The main outcome was total strengths and difficulties questionnaire (SDQ) score. There was complete data on SDQ score (total and subscales), postcode and demographics for over 10,000 children across the three years.

A spatial convolution model was fitted to SDQ score, assuming a negative binomial distribution for the outcome, with fixed effects for demographics, and nursery establishment attended and electoral ward of residence as random effects. Ward of residence was also included as a spatially correlated conditional autoregressive effect, dependent on the average score of neighbouring wards.

The results show that there was considerable variability between areas in average SDQ score, with some having scores that were substantially better or worse than would be expected based on their average demographics. Areas in the least deprived quintile had on average better scores than those in the other four. The youngest and oldest children, boys and those looked after in care tended to have more difficulties.

Data will shortly become available on all children in Glasgow across multiple points of their primary school education, for a number of years. Evaluation of the areas containing children that continue to struggle will enable more targeted interventions.
Period24 Oct 2018
Held atMathematics And Statistics