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The identification of children’s emotional states – parents and teachers as informants

Tampere University

The topic of this study is the identification of children’s emotional states. Research on the identification of children’s psychosocial problems is needed because their emotional disorders and mental health problems frequently go unnoticed. The early identification and treatment of children’s physical illnesses are cornerstones of health care systems globally, but the same cannot be said for mental health issues. The assessment of children’s social and psychological well-being is not as clearly defined and uniform. For many children, the first experience of help in emotional problems comes when they encounter child welfare professionals. The purpose of the study is to analyse how and to what extent parents and teachers notice children’s self-reported emotional states. The study utilises Honneth’s theory of recognition.

The data was gathered in primary schools in three municipalities in Western and Central Finland. 989 pupils and their parents and teachers participated in the study. All participants filled in the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ). The study looks at the similarities and differences in the adults’ and children’s conceptions of the childrens emotional states, and the preliminary results show that there are notable differences.