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Targeted, preventive interventions in primary school prevent mental health problems in adolescence
  1. Helen Baker-Henningham1,2
  1. 1Tropical Medicine Research Institute, University of the West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica;
  2. 2School of Psychology, Bangor University, Bangor, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Helen Baker-Henningham, helen.henningham{at}, h.henningham{at}

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What is already known on the topic?

Preventive interventions for children at risk of developing behaviour problems can lead to sustained benefits, especially for children at greatest risk. Benefits include fewer externalising behaviour problems, lower levels of delinquency and less school drop out in adolescence and reduced criminal involvement in adulthood.1–4

What this paper adds?

  • Preventive intervention targeting children at high risk for the early development of conduct problems leads to reductions in externalising symptoms and to fewer internalising symptoms in late adolescence.

  • Benefits to adolescent mental health were mediated by increases in child social skills and effective parent discipline in grade 3. This study's findings support and extend the findings from the earlier follow-up of this sample at age 12 years.1


  • High level of attrition (53% followed up) and non-blinded assessments of the …

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  • Competing interests None.