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Cognitive ability, parental socioeconomic position and internalising and externalising problems in adolescence: Findings from two European cohort studies

By Martijn Huisman, Ricardo Araya, Debbie A. Lawlor, Johan Ormel, Frank C. Verhulst and Albertine J. Oldehinkel


We investigated whether cognitive ability (CA) may be a moderator of the relationship of parental socioeconomic position (SEP) with internalising and externalising problems in adolescents. We used data from two longitudinal cohort studies; the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) and the Tracking Adolescents’ Individual Lives Survey (TRAILS). Indicators of SEP were mother’s education and household income. CA was estimated with IQ scores, derived from the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children. Internalising and externalising problems were measured with the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire in ALSPAC and with the Child Behavior Checklist in TRAILS. Logistic regression analyses were used to estimate the relative index of inequality (RII) for each outcome; the RII provides the odds ratio comparing the most to least deprived for each measure of SEP. In fully adjusted models an association of mother’s education with externalising problems was observed [ALSPAC RII 1.42 (95%CI: 1.01–1.99); TRAILS RII 2.21 (95%CI: 1.37–3.54)], and of household income with internalising and externalising problems [pooled ALSPAC & TRAILS internalising RII 1.30 (95%CI: 0.99–1.71); pooled ALSPAC & TRAILS externalising RII 1.38 (95%CI: 1.03–1.84)]. No consistent associations were observed between mother’s education and internalising problems. Results of stratified analyses and interaction-terms showed no evidence that CA moderated the association of SEP with internalising or externalising problems

Topics: Psychiatric Epidemiology
Publisher: Springer Netherlands
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Provided by: PubMed Central

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