Early identification of internalizing problems in young children is important as internalizing behaviour may intensify over time and lead to psychiatric disorders (e.g., Seligman & Ollendick, 1998), or even suicide (e.g., Lewinshon, Rohde, & Seeley, 1998). The internalizing problems of Hong Kong young children also reached an alarming point. A recent survey released by the Hong Kong Association for Careers Masters and Guidance Masters (HKACMGM) in late 2005 indicated that around 75 percent of primary school children considered themselves unhappy in their daily life. The present research looked into the internalizing problems among Hong Kong primary school children. It consisted of two studies. Study One was on the prevalence of childhood internalizing problems, and its association with mother-child relationship. Study Two was a treatment outcome research on the effectiveness of different intervention programs for these children. Three interventions were compared with the waitlist control group in order to identify the effectiveness of interventions on reducing internalizing symptoms, enhancing mother-child relationship, and increasing self-esteem. These interventions were: FRIENDS (cognitive-behavioural approach), THERAPLAY (relationship-based approach), and COPE (an integrative approach).
1598 students (from Primary 2 to Primary 4) participated in Study One on prevalence. Data on internalizing problems were collected using the Child Behaviour Checklist (CBCL). The overall prevalence rate in the current sample was 11.4 percent. Association between children's internalizing problem and mother-child relationship was assessed using the Parent-Child Relationship Questionnaire (PCRQ). Warmth in PCRQ had the highest negative correlation with Anxious/Depressed in CBCL.
Study Two included 92 children whose CBCL score reached at least the cutoff point (i.e., they were considered as "high risk" for having internalizing disorders) and met the selection criteria for the