Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology (J Abnorm Child Psychol )

Publisher: Springer Verlag


Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology brings together the latest research on psychopathology in childhood and adolescence with an emphasis on empirical studies of the ma or childhood disorders (the disruptive behavior disorders depression anxiety and pervasive developmental disorders). Studies focus on the epidemiology etiology assessment treatment prognosis follow-up and developmental course of child and adolescent disorders. Studies highlighting risk and protective factors the ecology and correlates of children's behavior problems and advances in prevention and treatment are featured. The Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology is the official journal of the International Society for Research in Child and Adolescent Psychopathology a multidisciplinary scientific society.

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Springer Verlag

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Publications in this journal

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Rejection sensitivity (RS) has been defined as the tendency to readily perceive and overreact to interpersonal rejection. The primary aim of this study was to test key propositions of RS theory, namely that rejecting experiences in relationships with parents are antecedents of early adolescents' future RS and symptomatology. We also expanded this to consider autonomy-restrictive parenting, given the importance of autonomy in early adolescence. Participants were 601 early adolescents (age 9 to 13 years old, 51 % boys) from three schools in Australia. Students completed questionnaires at school about parent and peer relationships, RS, loneliness, social anxiety, and depression at two times with a 14-month lag between assessments. Parents also reported on adolescents' difficulties at Time 1 (T1). It was anticipated that more experience of parental rejection, coercion, and psychological control would be associated with adolescents' escalating RS and symptoms over time, even after accounting for peer victimisation, and that RS would mediate associations between parenting and symptoms. Structural equation modelling supported these hypotheses. Parent coercion was associated with adolescents' increasing symptoms of social anxiety and RS over time, and parent psychological control was associated with increasing depressive symptoms over time. Indirect effects via RS were also found, with parent rejection and psychological control linked to higher T1 RS, which was then associated with increasing loneliness and RS. Lastly, in a separate model, peer victimisation and RS, but not parenting practices, were positively associated with concurrent parent reports of adolescents' difficulties.
    Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 12/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Extensive research has examined attentional bias for threat in anxious adults and school-aged children but it is unclear when this anxiety-related bias is first established. This study uses eyetracking technology to assess attentional bias in a sample of 83 children aged 3 or 4 years. Of these, 37 (19 female) met criteria for an anxiety disorder and 46 (30 female) did not. Gaze was recorded during a free-viewing task with angry-neutral face pairs presented for 1250 ms. There was no indication of between-group differences in threat bias, with both anxious and non-anxious groups showing vigilance for angry faces as well as longer dwell times to angry over neutral faces. Importantly, however, the anxious participants spent significantly less time looking at the faces overall, when compared to the non-anxious group. The results suggest that both anxious and non-anxious preschool-aged children preferentially attend to threat but that anxious children may be more avoidant of faces than non-anxious children.
    Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 12/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: This study examines concurrent and prospective relations between children's threat and self-blame appraisals of interparental conflict, their involvement in interparental conflict, and their internalizing and externalizing problems. 539 children aged 7-10 years old and their mothers participated in the study. They completed 3 assessments spaced 6 months apart. At each assessment, children reported on their threat and self-blame appraisals of interparental conflict, their conflict involvement, and their internalizing and externalizing problems. Mothers also reported on children's internalizing and externalizing problems. In concurrent analyses, threat and self-blame appraisals and conflict involvement were each positively and independently associated with children's adjustment problems. Threat related more strongly to internalizing problems than to externalizing problems; self-blame related more strongly to externalizing problems than to internalizing problems. Threat appraisals were associated with children's adjustment problems prospectively, but self-blame appraisals and conflict involvement were not. Although threat and self-blame appraisals and conflict involvement may each contribute to children's concurrent adjustment problems, threat appraisals appear most salient to their future adjustment problems.
    Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 11/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Impairment in learning from punishment ("punishment insensitivity") is an established feature of severe antisocial behavior in adults and youth but it has not been well studied as a developmental phenomenon. In early childhood, differentiating a normal: abnormal spectrum of punishment insensitivity is key for distinguishing normative misbehavior from atypical manifestations. This study employed a novel measure, the Multidimensional Assessment Profile of Disruptive Behavior (MAP-DB), to examine the distribution, dimensionality, and external validity of punishment insensitivity in a large, demographically diverse community sample of preschoolers (3-5 years) recruited from pediatric clinics (N = 1,855). Caregivers completed surveys from which a seven-item Punishment Insensitivity scale was derived. Findings indicated that Punishment Insensitivity behaviors are relatively common in young children, with at least 50 % of preschoolers exhibiting them sometimes. Item response theory analyses revealed a Punishment Insensitivity spectrum. Items varied along a severity continuum: most items needed to occur "Often" in order to be severe and behaviors that were qualitatively atypical or intense were more severe. Although there were item-level differences across sociodemographic groups, these were small. Construct, convergent, and divergent validity were demonstrated via association to low concern for others and noncompliance, motivational regulation, and a disruptive family context. Incremental clinical utility was demonstrated in relation to impairment. Early childhood punishment insensitivity varies along a severity continuum and is atypical when it predominates. Implications for understanding the phenomenology of emergent disruptive behavior are discussed.
    Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 11/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The objective of the present study was to analyse patterns of emotional, physical and sexual maltreatment in detained male juvenile offenders using latent class analysis (LCA). The association of maltreatment related LCA profiles with psychopathology and criminal behaviors was also studied. LCA based on the items of the Child Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ) assessing childhood emotional, physical, and sexual abuse was performed in a sample of 260 male adolescent offenders (mean age = 16.5 years, SD = 1.29 years). Chi square tests and general linear models were performed to assess the associations of CTQ profiles with categorical interview-based psychiatric disorders, dimensional Youth Self-Report problem scales, and officially registered offenses. LCA suggested a three class solution: (1) a no/mild trauma (NM; 76 %) (2) emotional and physical trauma (EP; 18 %) and (3) emotional, physical, and sexual trauma (EPS; 8 %). The classes EP and EPS were related to a variety of psychiatric disorders and self-reported mental health problems. Furthermore, EPS showed higher presence of a subsequent re-incarceration compared to NM. A majority of sexually abused juveniles also experienced emotional and physical abuse reflecting gravely disturbed family systems. Multiple abuse in childhood was associated with a broad variety of disorders including externalizing disorders and repeated criminal offending. Such findings indicate that trauma assessment is also relevant in externalizing youth. A comprehensive treatment approach for detained boys with multiple abuse experiences is required targeting both mental health needs and the reduction of criminal behaviors.
    Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 11/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The purpose of the research study was to determine whether ADHD- and texting-related driving impairments are mediated by extended visual glances away from the roadway. Sixty-one adolescents (ADHD =28, non-ADHD =33; 62 % male; 11 % minority) aged 16-17 with a valid driver's license were videotaped while engaging in a driving simulation that included a No Distraction, Hands-Free Phone Conversation, and Texting condition. Two indicators of visual inattention were coded: 1) percentage of time with eyes diverted from the roadway; and 2) number of extended (greater than 2 s) visual glances away from the roadway. Adolescents with ADHD displayed significantly more visual inattention to the roadway on both visual inattention measures. Increased lane position variability among adolescents with ADHD compared to those without ADHD during the Hands-Free Phone Conversation and Texting conditions was mediated by an increased number of extended glances away from the roadway. Similarly, texting resulted in decreased visual attention to the roadway. Finally, increased lane position variability during texting was also mediated by the number of extended glances away from the roadway. Both ADHD and texting impair visual attention to the roadway and the consequence of this visual inattention is increased lane position variability. Visual inattention is implicated as a possible mechanism for ADHD- and texting-related deficits and suggests that driving interventions designed to address ADHD- or texting-related deficits in adolescents need to focus on decreasing extended glances away from the roadway.
    Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 11/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Maternal depression and parenting are robust predictors of developmental outcomes for children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). However, methods commonly used to examine parent-child interactions in these families do not account for temporal associations between child and parent behavior that have been theorized to maintain negative child behavior. Moreover, studies examining associations between maternal depression and parenting in families of children with ADHD have not compared mothers who were currently depressed, remitted, and never clinically depressed. This study utilized sequential analysis to examine how maternal reinforcement of compliant and noncompliant child behavior differs as a function of maternal depression history. Within the 82 participating mother-child dyads, 21 mothers were currently depressed, 29 mothers had a lifetime history of depression but were in remission for at least 1 month, and 32 mothers had never been clinically depressed. 24 girls (29.6 %) and 57 boys (70.4 %) between the ages of 6-12 years old (M = 8.7, SD = 2.0) and were diagnosed with ADHD. Results indicated that all mothers were less likely to respond optimally than non-optimally to child compliant and noncompliant behaviors during observed parent-child interactions; however, currently depressed mothers were least likely to reinforce child compliance and responded most coercively to child noncompliance relative to the other groups. Remitted mothers in this sample were more coercive than never clinically depressed mothers, but were more likely to follow through with commands than never clinically depressed mothers. Implications for behavioral parent training programs aimed at skill development for depressed mothers of children with ADHD are discussed.
    Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 11/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The extent to which risk profiles or correlates of conduct disorder (CD) and oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) symptoms overlap among youth continues to be debated. Cross-sectional data from a large, representative community sample (N = 4,705) of African-American, Latino, and White fifth graders were used to examine overlap in correlates of CD and ODD symptoms. About 49 % of the children were boys. Analyses were conducted using negative binomial regression models, accounting for several confounding factors (e.g., attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder symptoms), sampling weights, stratification, and clustering. Results indicated that CD and ODD symptoms had very similar correlates. In addition to previously established correlates, several social skills dimensions were significantly related to ODD and CD symptoms, even after controlling for other correlates. In contrast, temperamental dimensions were not significantly related to CD and ODD symptoms, possibly because more proximal correlates (e.g., social skills) were also taken into account. Only two factors (gender and household income) were found to be specific correlates of CD, but not ODD, symptoms. The pattern of common and specific correlates of CD and ODD symptoms was replicated fairly consistently across the three racial/ethnic subgroups. Implications of these findings for further research and intervention efforts are discussed.
    Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 11/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: This study investigated the predictive relations between externalizing behavior, peer preference and friendship quantity, and bully status and victim status among children becoming acquainted with one another for the first time. Children ages 6.8-9.8 years (24 with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder; 113 typically developing; 72 girls) attended a 2-week summer day camp grouped into same-age, same-sex classrooms with previously unacquainted peers. Externalizing behavior (via parent and teacher ratings) was measured before the start of camp; peer preference and friendship quantity (via peer nominations) were measured in the middle of camp, and bully status and victim status (via peer nominations) were measured at the end of camp. Low peer preference mediated the positive association between externalizing behavior and bully status. Both peer preference and friendship quantity moderated the relation between externalizing behavior and bully status as well as between externalizing behavior and victim status; whereas high peer preference protected against both bully status and victim status, friendship quantity protected against victim status but exacerbated bully status. Some gender differences were found within these pathways. Peer preference, compared to friendship quantity, appears to have a more consistently protective role in the relation between externalizing behavior and bully status as well as victim status.
    Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 11/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Absence of the biological father in early childhood has been linked to depressive symptoms in mid-adolescent girls. Earlier studies have linked father absence to early timing of menarche, and early menarche is a risk factor for increased depressive symptoms in adolescence. No studies, however, have examined whether the association between father absence and depressive symptoms may be explained by the early onset of menarche. This study investigated whether age at menarche mediates the association between father absence in early childhood (birth to 5 years) and depressive symptoms in adolescent girls aged 14 years. The study sample comprised 7056 girls from a large UK birth cohort (Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children) who provided data on age at onset of menarche and depressive symptoms assessed using the Short Mood and Feelings Questionnaire at 14 years. Mothers provided data on father absence from the birth of the study child up to 10 years. Using structural equation modelling, we found that 15 % of the total estimated association between father absence in early childhood and depressive symptoms at 14 years was explained by early age at menarche. In addition to the mediated effect, father absence was linked to an 11 % increase in depressive symptoms in adolescence. The findings suggest that early age at menarche is one of the pathways linking early childhood father absence and depressive symptoms in mid-adolescent girls. Preventive strategies could be targeting young girls at risk for depressive symptoms as a function of stressful family factors (e.g., biological father absence) and earlier menarche.
    Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 11/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The present study identified moderators of Multisystemic Therapy's (MST) effects on adolescent conduct problems, considering facilitation and proximal process moderation models. The sample included 164 adolescents (mean age = 14.6 years; 83% male) randomly assigned to receive MST or services as usual; parent, youth, and teacher reports of adolescent functioning were obtained. A number of significant moderators were identified. Proximal process moderation patterns were identified (e.g., families with parents with lower levels of adaptive child discipline skills gained more from MST), but the majority of significant interactions showed a facilitation moderation pattern with, for instance, higher levels of adaptive functioning in families and parents appearing to facilitate MST (i.e., greater benefits from MST were found for these families). This facilitation pattern may reflect such families being more capable of and/or more motivated to use the resources provided by MST. It is suggested that factors consistently identified as facilitation moderators may serve as useful foci for MST's strength-based levers of change approach. Other implications of these findings for individualized treatment also are discussed.
    Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 11/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The temporal relation between two types of perfectionism - self-oriented perfectionism (SOP) and socially prescribed perfectionism (SPP) - and depressive symptoms was examined in a sample of 653 children (286 girls, 367 boys) across Grades 6 (depressive symptoms only), 7, and 8. A vulnerability model, in which perfectionism affects depressive symptoms, was compared to a scar model, in which depressive symptoms affects perfectionism, and to a reciprocal-causality model, in which both constructs concurrently affect each other across time. Cross-lagged paths analyses using structural equation modeling supported a scar model where increases in depressive symptoms lead to increases in SPP, but not SOP. The findings applied to both boys and girls. Results suggest that in childhood, depressive symptoms increase the perception that others are expecting excessively high standards of oneself and the need to satisfy this perception.
    Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 10/2014;