OBJECTIVES : To examine the relationship between early life episodes of otitis media and later behavioural development with adjustment for confounders.
DESIGN : Longitudinal cohort study. SETTING : The Western Australian Pregnancy Cohort (Raine) Study recruited 2900 pregnant women from King Edward Memorial Hospital (KEMH) in Perth, Western Australia, between 1989 and 1991.
PARTICIPANTS : Data from the children born were collected at both the Year 3 and Year 5 follow‐up. At Year 3, n = 611 were diagnosed with recurrent otitis media through parent‐report and clinical examination. At Year 5, n = 299 were considered exposed to otitis media based upon tympanometry results. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES : Performance in the Child Behaviour Checklist (CBCL), a questionnaire completed by the primary caregiver at Year 10. RESULTS : Significant associations were found between recurrent otitis media at Year 3 and internalising behaviours (P = .011), and the somatic (P = .011), withdrawn (P = .014), attention (P = .003) and thought problems domains (P = .021), and the total CBCL score (P = .010). A significant association was also found between exposure to otitis media at Year 5 and externalising behaviours (P = .026). CONCLUSIONS :
A modest association was seen between recurrent otitis media at Year 3 and exposure to otitis media at Year 5 and a number of behaviour domains at Year 10.