; Abstract: The effects of COVID-19 containment measures on the emotional and behavioral development of preschoolers are not clear. We investigated them within an ongoing longitudinal project including typically developing children (TD) and children at high familial risk for neurodevelopmen-tal disorders (HR-NDD) who were potentially more vulnerable. The study included ninety children aged 2–6 years (TD = 48; HR-NDD = 42). Before the emergency phase (T0), all children received a clinical assessment, including the parent questionnaire Child Behavior Checklist for Ages 1.5–5 (CBCL 1.5–5). The same questionnaire was filled out again during the emergency (T1), together with an ad-hoc questionnaire investigating environmental factors characterizing the specific period. Changes in the CBCL profiles between T0 and T1 were evaluated. Overall, irrespective of familial risk, the average T-scores on specific CBCL scales at T1 were higher than at T0. Associations emerged between delta scores reflecting worsening scores on specific CBCL scales and clinical and environmental factors. Our results confirmed the negative impact of the lockdown on preschool children’s emotional/behavioral profiles, and highlight the need for strategic approaches in the age range of 2–6 years, especially for more susceptible children owing to environmental factors and pre-existing emotional problems.
- Emotional and behavioral development
- Familial risk
- Neurodevelopmental disorders
ASJC Scopus subject areas