Specificity of putative psychosocial risk factors for psychiatric disorders in children and adolescents.
ABSTRACT Most psychosocial risk factors appear to have general rather than specific patterns of association with common childhood and adolescence disorders. However, previous research has typically failed to 1) control for comorbidity among disorders, 2) include a wide range of risk factors, and 3) examine sex by developmental stage effects on risk factor-disorder associations. This study tests the specificity of putative psychosocial risk factors while addressing these criticisms.
Eight waves of data from the Great Smoky Mountains Study (N = 1,420) were used, covering children in the community age 9-16 years old. Youth and one parent were interviewed up to seven times using the Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Assessment, providing a total of 6,674 pairs of interviews. A wide range of putative neighborhood, school, peer, family, and child risk factors, and common and comorbid youth disorders were assessed.
The majority of putative risk factors were specific to one disorder or one disorder domain. A unique or 'signature set' of putative risk factors was identified for each disorder. Several putative risk factors were associated with a disorder in preadolescent males, preadolescent females, adolescent males, or adolescent females only.
Our findings support the need to define risk factors and disorders narrowly, to control comorbidity and other risk factors, and to consider developmental patterns of specificity by sex.
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ABSTRACT: Adverse family experiences in early life are associated with subsequent psychopathology. This study adds to the growing body of work exploring the nature and associations between adverse experiences over the childhood years. Primary carers of 1143 randomly recruited 14-year olds in Cambridgeshire and Suffolk, UK were interviewed using the Cambridge Early Experiences Interview (CAMEEI) to assess family-focused adversities. Adversities were recorded retrospectively in three time periods (early and later childhood and early adolescence). Latent Class Analysis (LCA) grouped individuals into adversity classes for each time period and longitudinally. Adolescents were interviewed to generate lifetime DSM-IV diagnoses using the K-SADS-PL. The associations between adversity class and diagnoses were explored. LCA generated a 4-class model for each time period and longitudinally. In early childhood 69% were allocated to a low adversity class; a moderate adversity class (19%) showed elevated rates of family loss, mild or moderate family discord, financial difficulties, maternal psychiatric illness and higher risk for paternal atypical parenting; a severe class (6%) experienced higher rates on all indicators and almost exclusively accounted for incidents of child abuse; a fourth class, characterised by atypical parenting from both parents, accounted for the remaining 7%. Class membership was fairly stable (~ 55%) over time with escape from any adversity by 14 years being uncommon. Compared to those in the low class, the odds ratio for reported psychopathology in adolescents in the severe class ranged from 8 for disruptive behaviour disorders through to 4.8 for depressions and 2.0 for anxiety disorders. Only in the low adversity class did significantly more females than males report psychopathology. Family adversities in the early years occur as multiple rather than single experiences. Although some children escape adversity, for many this negative family environment persists over the first 15 years of life. Different profiles of family risk may be associated with specific mental disorders in young people. Sex differences in psychopathologies may be most pronounced in those exposed to low levels of family adversities.BMC Psychiatry 07/2011; 11:109. · 2.23 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Social functioning was assessed using the Child Behavior Checklist and Teacher Report Form for children with anxiety disorders who participated in a randomized clinical trial (N = 161, aged 7-14). Significant relationships were found between severity of children's principal anxiety disorder and most measures of social functioning, such that poorer social functioning was associated with more severe anxiety. Among youth who received cognitive-behavioral therapy (n = 111), significant associations were found between parent-reported social competence and both absence of principal anxiety disorder and lower anxiety severity at posttreatment and 1-year follow-up, controlling for the severity of the child's principal anxiety disorder at pretreatment. Findings support a relationship between anxiety severity and social difficulties, and suggest the importance of social competence for a favorable treatment response.Child Psychiatry and Human Development 05/2012; · 1.93 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Relatively few studies have examined multiple pathways by which risk factors from different domains are related to symptoms of anxiety and depression in young children; even fewer have assessed risks for these symptoms specifically, rather than for internalizing symptoms in general. We examined a theoretically- and empirically-based model of variables associated with these symptom types in a diverse community sample of 796 4-year-olds (391 boys, 405 girls) that included factors from the following domains: contextual (SES, stress and family conflict); parent characteristics (parental depression); parenting (support/engagement, hostility and scaffolding); and child characteristics including negative affect (NA) effortful control (EC) sensory regulation (SR), inhibitory control (IC) and attachment. We also compared the models to determine which variables contribute to a common correlates of symptoms of anxiety or depression, and which correlates differentiate between those symptom types. In the best-fitting model for these symptom types (a) SES, stress and conflict had indirect effects on both symptom types via long-chain paths; (b) caregiver depression had direct effects and indirect ones (mediated through parenting and child effortful control) on both symptom types; (c) parenting had direct and indirect effects (via temperament and SR); and temperament had direct effects on both symptom types. These data provide evidence of common risk factors, as well as indicate some specific pathways/mediators for the different symptom types. EC was related to anxiety, but not depression symptoms, suggesting that strategies to improve child EC may be particularly effective for treatment of anxiety symptoms in young children.Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 03/2013; · 3.09 Impact Factor