Lars Wichstrøm

St. Olavs Hospital, Nidaros, Sør-Trøndelag, Norway

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Publications (101)263.05 Total impact

  • International Journal of Behavioral Development 01/2016;
  • Child Development 01/2016;
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    ABSTRACT: We studied potential determinants of the development of children's emotion understanding (EU) from age 4 to 6 in a Norwegian community sample (N = 974) using the Test of Emotion Comprehension. Interpersonal predictors included the accuracy of parental mentalization, parental emotional availability, and teacher-reported child social skills. Intrapersonal child factors were child gender and verbal skills. Overall, children's EU increased significantly over time. After adjusting for child gender, age-4 EU, and parental socio-economic status, greater child verbal and social skills and greater parental mentalization each uniquely predicted growth in EU. Results are discussed in terms of theory and research on children's EU and parents' emotion socialization. © 2015 The British Psychological Society.
    05/2015; DOI:10.1111/bjdp.12095
  • Åse Bjørseth, Cheryl McNeil, Lars Wichstrøm
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    ABSTRACT: We assessed the ability of the Dyadic Parent-Child Coding System to discriminate between Norwegian children with Oppositional Defiant Disorder and/or Conduct Disorder (n = 36) and community controls with no diagnosis (n = 122). All children were diagnosed by the Preschool Age Psychiatric Assessment. Results showed that a composite score of three negative parent codes—Negative Talk, Indirect Commands with No Opportunity for Compliance, and Direct Command with Compliance—as well as one child code, Command, evidenced excellent screening efficiency. Results are discussed in light of possible cultural differences in parent-child interaction and revisions of the coding system.
    Child & Family Behavior Therapy 03/2015; 37(1):20-37. DOI:10.1080/07317107.2015.1000228
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    ABSTRACT: Most adolescents are placed in residential youth care (RYC) because of severe psychosocial strains and child maltreatment, which represent risk factors for developing mental disorders. To plan RYC units and ensure that residents receive evidence-based psychiatric interventions, it is necessary to obtain reliable and valid prevalence estimates of mental disorders in this population. However, there is a lacuna of research on diagnoses derived from standardized clinical interviews. The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence and comorbidity of mental disorders applying diagnostic interviews in an entire population of adolescents living in RYC in Norway. All young people in RYC were invited to participate in the study. Eighty-six RYC institutions with 601 eligible adolescents were included and 400 adolescents, 12-20 years old, participated in the study, yielding a response rate of 67 %. Anonymous Child Behaviour Checklist scores for 141 (70 %) of the declining residents were also available, allowing diagnoses according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) for 541 youths to be estimated. Diagnoses were assessed by trained interviewers with the Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Assessment interview (CAPA). Seventy-six point two per cent (71.5-80.8 CI 95 %) of adolescents received at least one 3-month DSM-IV diagnosis. Prevalence rates for internalizing psychiatric disorders were higher than for behavioural disorders. Comorbidity was high between these two groups. Mental disorders were prevalent among children and youth in RYC. Our results create major concerns and challenge the existing organization of the RYC system.
    European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry 03/2015; DOI:10.1007/s00787-015-0700-x
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    ABSTRACT: Although effortful control (EC), a regulatory aspect of temperament, is associated with a wide range of developmental outcomes, knowledge about EC promoters is scarce. This study explored whether secure attachment promoted the development of EC from preschool to school age in a community sample of 903 Norwegian children. EC was measured using the parent-reported Children's Behavior Questionnaire at four (T1) and six (T2) years of age, and attachment was measured using the Manchester Child Attachment Story Task at T1. Previous research has indicated that a child's gender and socioeconomic status are possible covariates of EC; hence, these factors were included in the analyses. Despite considerable rank-order stability in EC, secure attachment contributed to an increase in EC. Furthermore, gender moderated the effect of attachment: secure attachment promoted EC in boys only. These findings emphasize preschool boys' need for emotional security to facilitate effortful capacities in their transition to school. - This link from publisher gives you full-text accsess: http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/55yS8NRJeBeM6pq2Xp5X/full
    Attachment & Human Development 02/2015; DOI:10.1080/14616734.2014.999098
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    ABSTRACT: The hypothesis was tested that the new open-group Norwegian day-care centers would more than traditionally organized centers negatively affect (a) current and (b) future teacher-child relationships, and (c) the developmental legacy of preschool problem behavior. The focus was on eight hundred and fifty 4-year-olds from 153 centers who were followed up in first grade. Results of this natural quasi-experiment revealed that children from open-group centers (a) experienced less teacher-child closeness in preschool and (b) more teacher-child conflict in first grade, and (c) that high levels of preschool problem behavior forecast especially high levels of future teacher-child conflict, but only for children from open-group centers. Results highlight the importance of spatial and social organization of day care and their translational implications. © 2015 The Authors. Child Development © 2015 Society for Research in Child Development, Inc.
    Child Development 02/2015; DOI:10.1111/cdev.12350
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    ABSTRACT: The need-to-belong theory stipulates that social exclusion fosters aggression, whereas the social-reconnection hypothesis suggests that social exclusion promotes motivation to behave cooperatively. To date, empirical investigations of these contrasting views have focused on the immediate effects of social exclusion, yielding mixed results. Here we examine longer-term effects of preschool social exclusion on children’s functioning two years later. Social exclusion was reported by teachers, aggression and cooperation by parents. Cross-lagged analyses showed that greater social exclusion at age four predicted more aggression and less cooperation at age six, providing support for the need-to-belong rather than social-reconnection hypothesis. Secondary analyses showed that social exclusion predicted more aggression only among children scoring above mean on aggression at age four, indicating that aggressive behavior is amplified by social exclusion among children already behaving aggressively. No gender differences were found. Implications and limitations are discussed in a developmental context.
    Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 01/2015; DOI:10.1177/0146167214554591
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  • Silje Steinsbekk, Lars Wichstrøm
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    ABSTRACT: To examine the prevalence and stability of DSM-4-defined sleep disorders from preschool to first grade and to explore the bidirectional relationship between sleep disorders and symptoms of psychiatric disorders. All children born in 2003 or 2004 in Trondheim, Norway, who attended regular community health checkups for 4-year-olds, were invited to participate (97.2% attendance; 82.0% consent rate, n = 2475) in this study. The authors recruited a screen-stratified subsample of 1250 children and interviewed 994 parents (79.6%) using a structured diagnostic interview (the Preschool Age Psychiatric Assessment). Two years later, 795 of the parents completed the interview. There was stability in insomnia (adjusted odds ratio [OR] = 4.03, confidence interval [CI] = 2.83-5.75) and sleepwalking (adjusted OR = 19.28, CI = 4.53-82.10), whereas none of the children with hypersomnia or nightmare disorder at age 4 had the same disorder 2 years later. Insomnia increased the risk for developing symptoms of conduct disorder, major depressive disorder (MDD), and social phobia when the initial levels of insomnia were adjusted for. Symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, and MDD at age 4 were statistically linked to insomnia at age 6. Sleepwalking predicted later separation anxiety disorder, whereas hypersomnia was unrelated to symptoms of psychiatric disorders. Insomnia is a prevalent and stable disorder in children and is bidirectionally related to psychiatric symptoms.
    21st World Congress of IACAPAP (International Association for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Allied Proffesions, Durban, South-Africa; 08/2014
  • Tilmann von Soest, Lars Wichstrøm
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    ABSTRACT: This study examines secular trends in eating problems among adolescents between 1992 and 2010. The study aims further to investigate whether such trends can be accounted for by secular changes in putative risk factors. Three nationwide surveys of Norwegian senior high-school students were conducted in 1992, 2002, and 2010 (response rates 97.0, 91.0, and 83.2%). At each time point, approximately 3,000 adolescents participated. Eating problems were assessed by means of the Dieting and the Bulimia and Food Preoccupation subscales of the Eating Attitude Test-12. Moreover, a variety of potential risk factors that might account for time trends in such problems were measured. Dieting scores increased almost linearly for both genders during the research period. No differences over time in Bulimia and Food Preoccupation scores were seen among boys, whereas these symptoms peaked in 2002 for girls with considerably lower levels in both 1992 and 2010. The increase in Dieting from 1992 to 2010 for both genders could be attributed in part to increasing body mass index levels and, to a lesser degree, to depressive symptoms among females. The girls' time trend in Bulimia and Food Preoccupation was to some extent related to changes in appearance satisfaction, alcohol intoxication, and global self-worth. This study is one of few to statistically examine how secular trends in eating problems are related to changes in putative risk factors. The study does not however provide conclusive information on the causal direction between putative risk factors and eating problems. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. (Int J Eat Disord 2014).
    International Journal of Eating Disorders 07/2014; 47(5). DOI:10.1002/eat.22271
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    ABSTRACT: Children with histories of disorganized attachment exhibit diverse problems, possibly because disorganization takes at least two distinctive forms as children age: controlling-punitive and controlling-caregiving. This variation in the developmental legacy of disorganization has been attributed primarily to variations in children's rearing experiences. Here an alternative explanation of these divergent sequelae of disorganization is evaluated: one focused on genotype. Structural equation modeling was applied to data on 704 Norwegian children to test whether the catechol-O-methyltransferase Val158Met genotype moderates the effect of disorganized attachment, which was measured dimensionally at 4 years of age using the Manchester Child Attachment Story Task, on changes in aggressive behavior and social competence from ages 4 to 6. Children who scored high on disorganization and were homozygous for the valine allele displayed significantly greater increases in aggression and decreases in self-oriented social skills (e.g., self-regulation and assertiveness) over time than did their disorganized counterparts carrying the methionine allele, whereas disorganized children carrying the methionine allele increased their other-oriented social skill (e.g., cooperation and responsibility) scores more than did valine-homozygous children. These results are consistent with the controlling-punitive and controlling-caregiving behaviors observed in disorganized children, suggesting that the children's genotype contributed to variations in the social development of disorganized children.
    Development and Psychopathology 06/2014; 26(4):1-15. DOI:10.1017/S0954579414000492
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    ABSTRACT: To identify sociodemographic, child, parent, and day care provider factors at age 4 that predict Norwegian children's service use for mental health problems at age 7. Two birth cohorts of 4-year-old children and their parents living in the city of Trondheim, Norway, were invited (82% consented). We successfully interviewed 995 parents among 1250 drawn to participate using the Preschool Age Psychiatric Assessment to set diagnoses and record parental burden and service use. Information concerning sociodemographics, child impairment, parental social support, and child need for mental health services according to parents, day care teacher, and health nurse were obtained. Rate of service use among those with a behavioral or emotional disorder was 10.7% at age 4 and 25.2% at age 7. Behavioral disorders (odds ratio [OR] 2.6, confidence interval [CI] 1.3-5.3), but not emotional disorders, predicted service use. When adjusted for incapacity (OR 1.3, CI 1.2-1.6), disorders were no longer predictive. Incapacity, in turn, was not predictive once parental burden (OR 1.1, CI 1.0-1.1) and parents' (OR 2.7, CI 1.0-7.9) and day care teachers' (OR 2.1, CI 1.4-3.2) judgment of child need of help were included. Lower socioeconomic status predicted more service use over and beyond these factors (OR 3.0, CI 1.5-6.1). Behavioral disorders may instigate service use if they result in impairment, and such impairment may operate via increased parental burden and parent and caregiver problem recognition. Service use may be increased through effective screening programs and efforts to increase day care teachers' recognition of emotional problems.
    PEDIATRICS 05/2014; 133(6). DOI:10.1542/peds.2013-3184
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    ABSTRACT: The need-to-belong theory stipulates that social exclusion (e.g., being rejected by peers) impairs the ability to self-regulate and experimental studies with adults support this contention, at least on a short-term basis. Few studies have investigated whether social exclusion affects the development of self-regulation on children in a more enduring manner. By using data from a community sample of 762 children, we investigated reciprocal relations between social exclusion and self-regulation from age four to age six. Social exclusion was reported by teachers, whereas self-regulation was reported by parents. Autoregressive latent cross-lagged analyses showed that social exclusion predicted impaired development of dispositional self-regulation, and reciprocally, that poor self-regulation predicted enhanced social exclusion. Social exclusion and self-regulation reciprocally affect one another over time. Social exclusion undermines children's development of self-regulation, whereas poor self-regulation increases the likelihood of exclusion. Results illuminate the applied relevance of the need-to belong theory.
    Journal of Personality 03/2014; 83(2). DOI:10.1111/jopy.12096
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    ABSTRACT: Symptoms of depression and eating disorders increase during adolescence, particularly among girls, and they tend to co-occur. Despite this evidence, there is meager research on whether depression increases the risk of future eating pathology, or vice versa, and we do not know whether these processes are different for adolescent girls and boys. Accordingly, this study explored the prospective reciprocal associations between depressive symptoms and disordered eating at different time points from preadolescence to mid-adolescence and tested the moderator effect of gender on these associations. A community-based sample of Spanish youth (N = 942, 49 % female) was assessed at ages of approximately 10-11 (T1), 12-13 (T2), 14-15 (T3), and 16-17 (T4) years. The bidirectional relationships between depressive symptoms and disordered eating were estimated in an autoregressive cross-lagged model with latent variables. A unidirectional, age-specific association between depressive symptoms at T1 and disordered eating at T2 was found. No other significant cross-lagged effect emerged, but the stability of the constructs was considerable. Gender did not moderate any of the links examined. Regardless of gender, the transition from childhood to adolescence appears to be a key period when depressive symptoms foster the development of disordered eating. These findings suggest that early prevention and treatment of depression targeting both girls and boys may result in lower levels of depressive symptoms and disordered eating in adolescence.
    Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 12/2013; 42(5). DOI:10.1007/s10802-013-9833-x
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    ABSTRACT: This study provide data on the prevalence of diagnosable sleep disorders in preschoolers and examined the relationship between specific sleep disorders and a range of DSM-4-defined psychiatric symptoms. All children born in 2003 or 2004 in Trondheim, Norway, who attended regular community health checkups for 4 year olds were asked to participate (97.2% attendance; 82.0% consent rate, N = 2475). A screen-stratified subsample of 1250 children was recruited to participate in an additional comprehensive study that included a structured diagnostic interview (the Preschool-Age Psychiatric Assessment). Nine hundred ninety-five parents (79.6%) completed the interview. The estimated sleep disorder rate was 19.2%. Rates of specific disorders were as follows: primary insomnia (16.6%), primary hypersomnia (0.8%), nightmare disorder (2.2%), and sleepwalking disorder (0.7%). When adjusted for a range of common psychiatric symptoms, primary insomnia was specifically related to symptoms of depression, generalized anxiety disorder, separation anxiety, and specific phobia. When sleep problems were excluded as a symptom of depression, the association between depression and primary insomnia was no longer significant. Nightmare disorder was significantly related to generalized anxiety disorder. This first study of the prevalence and comorbidity of diagnosable sleep disorders in preschoolers indicates that primary insomnia is common in young children, whereas other sleep disorders are rare. Sleep disorders are related to psychiatric symptoms, particularly symptoms of anxiety disorders.
    Journal of developmental and behavioral pediatrics: JDBP 11/2013; DOI:10.1097/01.DBP.0000437636.33306.49
  • Lars Wichstrøm, Turid Suzanne Berg-Nielsen
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    ABSTRACT: Psychiatric disorders have been increasingly recognized in preschool children; at present, however, we know comparatively less about how well current diagnostic manuals capture the symptoms described in this age group and how comorbidity is patterned. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate whether the symptoms defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition (DSM-IV) load on their respective disorders, examine whether individual symptoms exist that load particularly high or low on the disorder they allegedly define, and analyze how comorbidity clusters in individual children. Parents of a community sample of Norwegian 4-year-olds (N = 995) were interviewed using the Preschool Age Psychiatric Assessment. A confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) and a latent profile analysis (LPA) were performed on the symptoms of seven DSM disorders: attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), oppositional defiant disorder, conduct disorder, major depressive disorder (MDD), generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social phobia, and separation anxiety disorder. The results showed that the CFA solution that closely resembled the disorders delineated in the DSM-IV fitted the data best. However, vegetative symptoms did not define preschool depression. The LPA identified nine symptom profiles among preschoolers, of which four showed evidence of psychopathology: comorbid MDD/GAD + ADHD combined type, comorbid MDD/GAD + ADHD hyperactive/impulsive type, separation anxiety only, and social phobia only. In conclusion, the symptoms observed in preschoolers fit the DSM-IV well, and comorbidity followed specific patterns.
    European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry 10/2013; 23(7). DOI:10.1007/s00787-013-0486-7
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Publication Stats

2k Citations
263.05 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2013–2015
    • St. Olavs Hospital
      Nidaros, Sør-Trøndelag, Norway
  • 1999–2015
    • Norwegian University of Science and Technology
      • Department of Psychology
      Nidaros, Sør-Trøndelag, Norway
    • Norwegian Institute for Alcohol and Drug Research
      Kristiania (historical), Oslo County, Norway
  • 2013–2014
    • NTNU Samfunnsforskning
      Nidaros, Sør-Trøndelag, Norway
  • 1998–2010
    • University of Oslo
      • • National Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention (NSSF)
      • • Department of Behavioural Sciences in Medicine
      Oslo, Oslo, Norway
  • 2005
    • Institutt for samfunnsforskning, Oslo
      Kristiania (historical), Oslo County, Norway
  • 2003
    • Norwegian Social Research (NOVA)
      Kristiania (historical), Oslo, Norway
  • 1994–1995
    • The Research Council of Norway
      Kristiania (historical), Oslo County, Norway