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Department of Psychology

Home Alone: The Risks to Children’s Mental Health

Leaving your child home alone at a young age may have a negative long-term effect on their later development.

The risks to children’s mental health are increased by leaving them home alone. Compared to children cared for by their mothers, siblings or other relatives, children left home alone at age three develop more antisocial behaviours and psychotic symptoms in their later adult lives. 


This study highlights the need for current policies on workplace childcare and play schemes to be reconsidered in light of the broader literature on childcare, particularly for the underserved segments of the population and for those with limited childcare benefits.

By Keri Ka-Yee Wong, Adrian Raine & Peter Venables

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