The association of season of birth with child internalizing problems
Greer, Fred Warren
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The study investigated the relationship between children’s season of birth and their development of internalizing problems. This research builds on previous studies that have examined season of birth effects for nervous system disorders, schizophrenia, mental retardation and learning disabilities. The sample consisted of 2,619 elementary school students between the ages of 5 and 12 years who participated in a grant project (Project ACT Early). Using the Behavior Assessment System for Children (BASC; Reynolds & Kamphaus, 1992), classroom teachers rated each student on their behavioral adjustment. Five scales from the BASC instrument were examined in this study: Anxiety, Depression, Somatization, Withdrawal, and the Internalizing Problems Composite. Chi-square tests of independence were used to assess the association between which half of the year were born (Spring/Summer or Fall/Winter) and whether they had extreme scores on thone of the five BASC scales (above the 75 percentile). These analyses were conducted for the overall population, by sex, and by age-group (5 to 8 years, 9 to 12 years). It was postulated that births for high-scoring children would be greater in the Spring/Summer than other times of the year. Statistically significant effects were found for high-score children on the Anxiety scale and Internalizing Problems composite. The peak birth period for these subjects was during the Spring/Summer period as expected. Analyses of the data according to sex identified statistically significant effects among females on these same scales, also with the frequency of births cresting in the Spring/Summer period.