Child Mental Health in Education (ChiME)

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What is ChiME?

The Child Mental Health in Education (ChiME) project began as a collaboration between the University of Glasgow and Glasgow City Council Education Services. The data, collected between 2010 and 2017, are an administrative dataset, collected by Glasgow City Council for all local authority schools and local authority nurseries in Glasgow. This meant all eligible school children were automatically included.

Data were collected by Glasgow City Council Education Services on social, emotional and behavioural difficulties in children during their preschool and primary school years, using the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ). The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire was completed at three time points within the ChiME project: age 4-5 years (preschool, nursery staff complete); age 7 years (Scottish Primary 3, teacher complete); age 10 years (P6, child complete).  (NHS health visitors also completed the SDQ and a language scale with parents when children were aged 30 months, but these data are held separately by the NHS.)

Every year, the results from the local authority schools and nurseries were fed back to teachers to help with class planning and catering for individual children's needs. Additionally, results for the whole of Glasgow were reported to Glasgow City Council Education Services and used to explore service provision across the City.

Although data collection stopped in 2017, the information is a valuable resource for analysis and research (note that the dataset does not include the names of individual children). The fact that this was a Glasgow wide administrative dataset in all local authority schools and nurseries means that it includes children from the most deprived areas and with greater levels of difficulties, among whom study participation levels are often lower.

What is the SDQ?

The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) is a brief behavioural screening questionnaire for 2-17 year olds. The SDQ comprises 25 questions divided into five groups; emotional symptoms, conduct problems, hyperactivity/inattention, peer relationship problems and prosocial behaviour. The first four groups are scored negatively and the fifth group (prosocial behaviour) is scored positively. The answers to the negatively scored questions are added together to provide a Total Difficulties Score. Versions of the SDQ are available for parents, teachers and for young people over 10 years old.

How was consent for data collection obtained?

Parents were informed (via schoolbag letter and the school website) and given the opportunity to opt out if they did not wish their child to participate. Children in the older age group (P6) who were asked to self-complete the questionnaire were able to opt-out on the day of data completion.

What research has the ChiME data been used for?

Findings have been submitted for publication to inform academics and the wider community. Studies have looked at:

  • whether it is is feasible to assess children systematically for social and behavioural problems as part of the routine transition process at school entry;
  • levels of such problems at age 30 months;
  • associations between different problem areas, and between social and behavioural problems and social isolation at preschool;
  • levels of social and behavioural problems among children in different areas of Glasgow;
  • whether a Glasgow-wide parenting programme had an impact on children’s mental health;
  • and socioeconomic inequalities in mental health at school entry and how these change over the first three years of school.

Details of published work can be found under 'Related research' section below.

Who funds and looks after ChiME and its data?

ChiME has been previously been funded by Glasgow City Council Education Services, The Scottish Government Health Department, the Scottish Government Fairer Scotland Fund, Glasgow City Council One Glasgow fund and the Gillberg Neuropsychiatry Centre. It is now supported by the MRC/CSO Social & Public Health Sciences Unit (SPHSU) at the University of Glasgow.

The project was originally overseen by a steering group which included members from Glasgow City Council, University of Glasgow, the University of Strathclyde, Educational Psychology, NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde and school and nursery staff. Since 2017, when data collection stopped, a scientific group, including representation from Glasgow City Educational Services and the Universities of Glasgow, Strathclyde, Edinburgh and Aberdeen has managed the data.

The data are now securely held by SPHSU at the University of Glasgow.

Staff

Lucy Thompson, Research Fellow, University of Glasgow Mental Health & Wellbeing and Senior Research fellow, Centre for Rural Health, University of Aberdeen
Phil Wilson, Honorary Professor, University of Glasgow Institute for Health and Wellbeing and Director, Centre for Rural Health, University of Aberdeen
Helen Minnis, Professor of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, University of Glasgow Mental Health & Wellbeing
Louise Marryat, Honorary Research Fellow, University of Glasgow Institute for Health and Wellbeing and Research Fellow in Pediatric Neurodevelopmental Disorders and Learning Difficulties, University of Edinburgh
Sarah Barry, Honorary Lecturer, University of Glasgow Institute for Health and Wellbeing and Chancellor's Fellow, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Strathclyde
Helen Sweeting, MRC/CSO Social & Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow
Marion Henderson, MRC/CSO Social & Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow
Courtney Taylor Browne, MRC/CSO Social & Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow


Collaborators

Bonnie Auyeung, Reader and Chancellor’s Fellow, School of Philosophy, Psychology & Language Sciences at the University of Edinburgh
Anna Hall, PhD student, School of Philosophy, Psychology & Language Sciences at the University of Edinburgh
Graham Connelly, Senior Knowledge Exchange Fellow, Centre for Excellence for Looked After Children in Scotland, University of Strathclyde
Michele McClung, Support Services Manager (Policy and Research), Glasgow City Council


Publications

2018

  • Marryat L, Thompson L, Minnis H  and Wilson P. (2018)Primary schools and the amplification of social differences in child mental health: a population-based cohort study. J Epidemiol Community Health 2018;72:27-33. https://doi.org/10.1136/jech-2017-208995

2017

2015

  • Barry, S.J.E., Marryat, L., Thompson, L., Ellaway, A., White, J., McClung, M., and Wilson, P. (2015) Mapping area variability in social and behavioural difficulties among Glasgow pre-schoolers: linkage of a survey of pre-school staff with routine monitoring data.  Child: Care, Health and Development, 41(6), pp. 853-864.
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/cch.12237

2014

  • Marryat, L., Thompson, L., Minnis, H., Wilson, P.  (2014) Associations between social isolation, pro-social behaviour and emotional development in pre-school aged children:  a population based survey of kindergarten staff.  BMC Psychology 2014, 2:44.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40359-014-0044-1

  • Sim, F., O'Dowd, J., Thompson, L., Law, J., Macmillan, S., Affleck, M., Gillberg, C., Wilson, P.  (2014) Language and social/emotional problems identified at a universal developmental assessment at 30 months.  BMC Pediatrics 2013, 13:206.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2431-13-206

2013

  • White, J., Connelly, G., Thompson, L., and Wilson, P.  (2013) Assessing wellbeing at school entry using the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire: professional perspectives, Educational Research, 55:1, 87-98. 
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00131881.2013.767027

Related research

Understanding the effects of prenatal maternal infections on developmental outcomes, autism spectrum disorder and learning disabilities

This study, funded UK-based charities study will examine links between maternal infections during pregnancy and children's strengths and difficulties, using the ChiME data set. 

Prenatal maternal health is an important factor associated with child development. Infections during pregnancy are a common occurrence and have been associated with a higher risk of specific disorders in offspring, such as Autism Spectrum Disorders and Schizophrenia. The main drawbacks of previous studies on links between prenatal infections and developmental outcomes have been that they rely upon hospital admission data for information on maternal infections and clinical diagnoses of children's developmental difficulties. This omits mothers who receive healthcare treatment from their local doctor, and children who have developmental difficulties that are not captured in a central register. 

To address these limitations, we will analyse data that captures milder occurrences of both maternal infections and children’s developmental outcomes, as well as more severe indications. We will analyse data from hospital and GP records capturing maternal infections and children's clinically diagnosed developmental difficulties. Alongside these, we will analyse the ChiME data, which will offer a unique insight into milder occurrences of developmental difficulties, in particular difficulties that may not result in a clinical diagnosis. 


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