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Revista chilena de neuro-psiquiatría

On-line version ISSN 0717-9227


TORRES M., Danisa; VIVIANI G., Paola; COHELO M., Elisa  and  BEDREGAL G., Paula. Association between primary caregiver depressive symptoms and behavioral problems in a sample of chilean preschool children age 30 to 48 months. Rev. chil. neuro-psiquiatr. [online]. 2018, vol.56, n.2, pp.100-109. ISSN 0717-9227.


The mental health of the caregiver influences the development of children; however we do not know if there is an association between depressive symptoms of the caregiver and behavioral problems in Chilean preschoolers. The objective was to analyze the association between primary caregiver depressive symptoms and behavioral problems in preschoolers users of the Chilean public health network.


Cross-sectional study. Two-stage stratified cluster sampling. Sample 1377 preschool children 2,5-4 years old and their primary caregivers. In order to assess child behavior, a sociodemographic survey and Child Behavior Checklist ½-5 we applied to each caregiver, under informed consent. Caregiver depressive symptoms were assessed using the International Diagnostic Composite Interview Short Form.


Preschool age was 40.95 ± 4.6 months, 51.3% were boys. 97.5% of caregivers were female, (ages 31.6 ± 10.2 yr, average schooling 9.5 years). Behavioral problems of clinical rank were found in the three scales: total behavioral problems 21.4%, internalizing 23.1%, and externalizing behaviors 16.4%. 9.1% of caregivers experienced depressive symptomatology. In preschool children with internalizing behavioral, caregivers showed depressive symptoms in 14,5% of cases, and 16,1% in those with an externalizing behavioral. In multinomial logistic regression analysis adjusted for confounding variables, bivariate association for internalizing behavioral problems was lost, but persisted for total behavioral problems and for externalizing behavioral.


The association between caregiver's depressive symptoms and behavioral problems in Chilean preschool children is consistent and modulated by other medical and psychosocial variables, suggesting the importance of identification, prevention and early intervention of the dyad and their environment.

Keywords : Preschool Child; Caregiver depression; CBCL.

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