Follow-up of infants with colic into childhood: Do they develop behavioural problems?

Judith Zeevenhooven*, Françoise E. de Bruin, Renske Schappin, Arine M. Vlieger, Johanna H. van der Lee, Lotte Haverman, Bregje E. van Sleuwen, Monique P. l'Hoir, Marc A. Benninga

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Aim: To assess whether infants with colic (IC) demonstrate persisting developmental dysregulation into childhood, manifested as behavioural problems, and to determine if these behavioural problems are associated with parenting factors. Methods: Preschool children with a history of IC at the age of 0–3 months, as defined by the Wessel criteria, were invited to participate in an observational follow-up study, in which their caregivers completed the Child Behaviour Checklist (CBCL). Raw scores and clinical-range scores on the internalising, externalising and total behavioural problems scales were compared with a Dutch normative sample using independent t-tests and Chi-square tests. For the clinical-range scores, multivariable logistic regressions (odds ratios [99% confidence interval, CI]) were used to adjust for confounders and to identify variables associated with behavioural problems. Results: Two hundred and fifty-eight children with a history of IC (median age 5.1 (interquartile range, IQR 4.6–5.5) years, 51.9% boys) were included. The cases had a significantly higher adjusted risk (adjusted odds ratios (aORs) [99% CI]) of scoring in the clinical range of the emotionally reactive, internalising and total problems scale (2.96 [1.24–7.06]; 2.50 [1.35–4.62]; 2.98 [1.46-6.07], respectively). Internalising (P < 0.001), externalising (P < 0.001) and total (P < 0.001) behavioural problems in children with a history of IC were associated with higher parenting stress scores. Conclusions: Children with a history of IC demonstrated significantly more internalising behavioural problems at preschool age compared to the norm sample. Specific advice and support need to be available for parents to understand and regulate the behaviour of their child, from infancy to childhood.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2076-2083
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Paediatrics and Child Health
Issue number11
Early online date2022
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022

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