Based on the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ), this publication explores the prevalence of social, emotional and behavioural difficulties in New Zealand children aged 3–14 years. Data come from the New Zealand Health Survey child developmental health and wellbeing module, which was in the field in 2012/13, 2014/15 and 2015/16. The publication reports on differences in the prevalence and nature of the difficulties experienced by children across age, sex, ethnicity and neighbourhood deprivation.
The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire
The SDQ is a parent-completed questionnaire about their child’s behaviour, covering the areas of social, emotional and behavioural functioning. If a child experiences difficulties with the behaviours assessed, this may be indicative of an underlying developmental delay or disorder (eg, an autism spectrum disorder) or a greater risk of some types of mental disorders in childhood or later in life (eg, conduct disorder, depression).
Early intervention in response to difficulties can reduce the risk or severity of certain types of mental disorders later in childhood, adolescence or adulthood and improve children’s developmental, emotional, academic and social outcomes. It could help children to achieve their full potential.