Middle ear effusion in infancy and hyperactivity in middle childhood
Falkenstein, Alice Ruth
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This dissertation research statistically analyzes an association between the number of days spent with middle ear effusion in the first 3 years of life and hyperactivity in middle childhood. The study defines precisely the number of days children had middle ear effusion by using data from the Boston Collaborative Study of 2565 children followed prospectively from birth documenting days spent with middle ear disease. Hyperactive behavior is measured in a sample of 206 children chosen from a rank order list of the original study population. The ranking was by amount of days with effusion. Sample children were given a WISC-R when they were between 6.9-7.3 years. Parents completed the Achenbach Child Behavior checklist at the same time. Scores on the hyperactivity subscale of the CBCL and the WISC-R attention triad subscale--digit span, coding and arithmetic--are analyzed to determine differences in children who have and have not had increasing days spent with middle ear effusion in infancy.;Multiple regression analysis was employed. Independent variables included sex, socioeconomic status, number of days with unilateral, bilateral and total effusion, the placement of tympanostomy tubes and age at placement. Interaction effects were also analyzed.;Results of regression analysis are insignificant in this study. A moderate association (p. =.10) was seen between high scores on the CBCL and females who had tubes inserted. Girls with tubes also scored lower on the WISC-R attention triad subtests but not significantly. There was no significant correlation between CBCL and WISC-R subtest scores although it was closer in females than males. Differences in scores for males was more closely associated to SES than days with effusion but not significantly.;The Boston researchers were not primarily studying behavior disorders and the data available for this research may not have adequately measured hyperactive behavior differences in children. The population studied received regular medical care. Parents were motivated and willingly participated in the study. This may have mitigated the potential behavioral risk of early middle ear disease seen in other studies.