The implementation of the ADBB in a Norwegian child health center

Studies show that infants can experience mental difficulties just like older children, but these difficulties are not detected early enough, and the support services for the youngest are inadequate. In this study, we examine whether the Alarm Distress Baby scale (ADBB) is a suitable method that can be used at health centers to identify the youngest children at risk.

Mental difficulties in infants often present as regulatory problems; issues with sleep, eating, uneasiness, or withdrawal from social contact. The causes of such difficulties can be numerous, such as developmental disorders or inadequate care. If an infant consistently does not engage in the expected social interaction over time, this is a sign for health professionals to take a closer look at the child's development and care conditions.

We are going to research a screening tool, the ADBB. Through qualitative interviews with public health nurses, we will investigate the challenges they face when dealing with infants who show signs of regulatory difficulties. We also aim to explore their attitudes and experiences with the implementation of screening tools in general, and the ADBB in particular, at the health station. Finally, we will conduct a systematic literature review of previous research on the ADBB to assess the method's reliability and validity.

Ph.D.-student: Elisabeth Ovanger Barrett

Ph.D.-project with collaborating partners: Catharina Elisabeth Arfwedson Wang, Geir Fagerjord LoremMonica Martinussen, Hilde Laholt and Vibeke Moe

Collaborative project with Preventive health services in Tromsø municipality

Project period: 2018-2025


Catharina Elisabeth Arfwedson Wang (Principal investigator)
Elisabeth Ovanger Barrett
Geir F Lorem

Financial/grant information:

This study was supported by "The National Program for Integrated Clinical Specialist and PhD-training for Psychologists" in Norway. This program is a joint cooperation between the Universities of Bergen, Oslo, Tromsø, The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (Trondheim), the Regional Health Authorities, and the Norwegian Psychological Association. The program is funded by The Ministry of Education and Research.