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PRESCHOOL CHILDREN’S STRENGTHS AND DIFFICULTIES AS PREDICTORS OF URINARY CONTROL DIFFICULTIES

S. Tatalović Vorkapić 1, M. Slaviček2, D. Napijalo3

1University of Rijeka, Faculty of Teacher Education (CROATIA)
2University of Zagreb, Faculty of Education and Rehabilitation Sciences (CROATIA)
3KIndergarten Rijeka (CROATIA)
Within a broad socio-emotional development of children of early and preschool age, some specific developmental tasks should be accomplished with the aim of successful overall children’s development and well-being. One of the significant developmental tasks during that period is related to the adoption of basic hygiene habits and the control of urination. These developmental tasks are especially challenged within the transition periods in children’s lives. During early and preschool developmental stage, diurnal or nocturnal urinary difficulties and bed-wetting could occur, which could consequently result in prolonged incontinences or enuresis in a certain number of children. Although there are a number of significant physiological correlates of successfully established bladder control, very few studies address the psychological correlates. They have shown a significant correlation between behavioral problems and significantly greater difficulties in establishing bladder control. Therefore, the primary objective of this study is to examine the relationship between diurnal urinary difficulties and bed-wetting with the psychological strength (prosocial behaviour) and difficulties (hyperactivity, emotional problems, behavior problems and peer problems) of preschool children, and to what extent it is possible to predict successful bladder control based on these psychological characteristics of children. Applying a general questionnaire on the adoption of urinary habits and the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire, 29 early childhood educators from six kindergartens evaluated 461 children (220 girls) with an average age of M = 5 years (SD = 1.17). Conducted correlation analyses showed significant positive correlations between diurnal urinary difficulties and all psychological difficulties, and a negative correlation between diurnal urinary difficulties and the strength of preschool children, i.e., prosocial behaviour. Significant predictors of diurnal urinary difficulties, both in the awake state and during daytime sleep, were shown to be the age of children, their conduct problems, and peer problems. Determined findings are discussed within the framework of practical implications in the work of early childhood educators with the aim of enhancing children's well-being by providing early childhood educators’ support.