Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

Published by Elsevier BV

Print ISSN: 0890-8567


Case Report
  • Article

April 2007


115 Reads



This case report describes two children who developed hyperammonemia together with frank manic behavior during treatment with a combination of valproic acid and risperidone. One child had been maintained on valproic acid for years and risperidone was added. In the second case, valproic acid was introduced to a child who had been treated with risperidone for years. In both cases, discontinuing the valproic acid resulted in normalization of ammonia levels and cessation of the manic behavior. This case report alerts physicians to the importance of obtaining serum ammonia levels in children treated with valproic acid and risperidone who present with manic behavior.

Self-Control: Theory and Research

February 2002


913 Reads

Theory and research on self-control were reviewed. Selected research is summarized along with some conclusions from clinical practice. Self-control difficulties are of central importance for many psychiatric disorders. Self-control is also a crucial, and often missing, ingredient for success in most treatment programs. It is stable enough to be considered an enduring trait or skill, but not immutable. Performance tests provide ingenious methods of measuring it, and they have some advantages over questionnaires. Biological research is under way: the prefrontal cortex is heavily involved; alcohol reduces self-control; serotonin may increase it. Self-control is correlated with, but not identical with, capacity for focused attention. Self-control is subject to "momentum effects": the more it is successfully practiced in a given arena, the easier subsequent practice usually becomes, and vice versa. Like a muscle, it appears to be fatigued in the short run and strengthened in the long run by exercise.

Safety and Efficacy of ABT-089 in Pediatric Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: Results from Two Randomized Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trials

January 2011


56 Reads

Timothy E Wilens


Laura M Gault





To assess the safety and efficacy of ABT-089, a novel α(4)β(2) neuronal nicotinic receptor partial agonist, vs. placebo in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Two multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group studies of children 6 through 12 years of age were conducted. Study 1 (n = 274) assessed six treatment groups over 8 weeks: 4 once-daily (QD) ABT-089 doses (0.085-0.700 mg/kg), QD atomoxetine, and placebo. Study 2 (n = 119) assessed three treatment groups over 6 weeks: 2 QD ABT-089 doses (0.7 mg/kg, 1.4 mg/kg) and placebo. The primary efficacy variable was the investigator-administered Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Rating Scale-IV: Home Version (ADHD-RS-IV [HV]) Total Score. Safety was assessed by adverse event (AE) monitoring, laboratory tests, vital signs, physical examinations, and electrocardiogram measures. There was no statistically significant difference between ABT-089 and placebo in mean change from baseline to final evaluation of ADHD-RS-IV (HV) Total Score or other outcome measures at any dose in either study. In Study 1, atomoxetine showed statistically significant improvement for the primary and most secondary endpoints. ABT-089 was generally safe and well tolerated, with no statistically significant difference between any ABT-089 dose and placebo in the overall incidence of any specific AE, and no clinically significant changes in other safety measures. ABT-089 did not show efficacy on the primary efficacy variable, the ADHD-RS-IV (HV) Total Score, or other measures of ADHD symptomatology in children with ADHD, and had a safety profile similar to placebo. These results contrast with published reports of efficacy of nicotinic modulators in adults with ADHD.

Toward Brief "Red Flags" for Autism Screening: The Short Autism Spectrum Quotient and the Short Quantitative Checklist in 1,000 Cases and 3,000 Controls

February 2012


1,032 Reads

Objective: Frontline health professionals need a "red flag" tool to aid their decision making about whether to make a referral for a full diagnostic assessment for an autism spectrum condition (ASC) in children and adults. The aim was to identify 10 items on the Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ) (Adult, Adolescent, and Child versions) and on the Quantitative Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (Q-CHAT) with good test accuracy. Method: A case sample of more than 1,000 individuals with ASC (449 adults, 162 adolescents, 432 children and 126 toddlers) and a control sample of 3,000 controls (838 adults, 475 adolescents, 940 children, and 754 toddlers) with no ASC diagnosis participated. Case participants were recruited from the Autism Research Centre's database of volunteers. The control samples were recruited through a variety of sources. Participants completed full-length versions of the measures. The 10 best items were selected on each instrument to produce short versions. Results: At a cut-point of 6 on the AQ-10 adult, sensitivity was 0.88, specificity was 0.91, and positive predictive value (PPV) was 0.85. At a cut-point of 6 on the AQ-10 adolescent, sensitivity was 0.93, specificity was 0.95, and PPV was 0.86. At a cut-point of 6 on the AQ-10 child, sensitivity was 0.95, specificity was 0.97, and PPV was 0.94. At a cut-point of 3 on the Q-CHAT-10, sensitivity was 0.91, specificity was 0.89, and PPV was 0.58. Internal consistency was >0.85 on all measures. Conclusions: The short measures have potential to aid referral decision making for specialist assessment and should be further evaluated.

FIGURE 1 For the purpose of clear presentation, some latent factor correlations are not depicted. Note: AB ϭ aggressive behavior; AD ϭ anxious/depressed; AP ϭ attention problems; ER ϭ emotionally reactive; S ϭ sleep; SC ϭ somatic complaints; W ϭ withdrawn. 
Preschool Psychopathology Reported by Parents in 23 Societies: Testing the Seven-Syndrome Model of the Child Behavior Checklist for Ages 1.5-5
  • Article
  • Full-text available

December 2010


460 Reads

To test the fit of a seven-syndrome model to ratings of preschoolers' problems by parents in very diverse societies. Parents of 19,106 children 18 to 71 months of age from 23 societies in Asia, Australasia, Europe, the Middle East, and South America completed the Child Behavior Checklist for Ages 1.5-5 (CBCL/1.5-5). Confirmatory factor analyses were used to test the seven-syndrome model separately for each society. The primary model fit index, the root mean square error of approximation (RMSEA), indicated acceptable to good fit for each society. Although a six-syndrome model combining the Emotionally Reactive and Anxious/Depressed syndromes also fit the data for nine societies, it fit less well than the seven-syndrome model for seven of the nine societies. Other fit indices yielded less consistent results than the RMSEA. The seven-syndrome model provides one way to capture patterns of children's problems that are manifested in ratings by parents from many societies. Clinicians working with preschoolers from these societies can thus assess and describe parents' ratings of behavioral, emotional, and social problems in terms of the seven syndromes. The results illustrate possibilities for culture-general taxonomic constructs of preschool psychopathology. Problems not captured by the CBCL/1.5-5 may form additional syndromes, and other syndrome models may also fit the data.

COMT Val(108/118)Met gene variant, birth weight, and conduct disorder in children with ADHD

December 2006


95 Reads

In a recent study, Thapar and colleagues reported that COMT "gene variant and birth weight predict early-onset antisocial behavior in children" with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. We have attempted to replicate these findings in a group of ADHD children using a similar research design. Children (n=191) between 6 and 12 years of age who were diagnosed with ADHD were included in the study. Conduct disorder was diagnosed according to DSM-IV criteria based on clinical evaluation and a structured interview (Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children-IV). The mother's report on the child's birth weight was used in the analysis. Logistic regression analysis, with genotype and birth weight as independent variables and DSM-IV conduct disorder as the dependent variable, was conducted. No significant main effects of genotype and birth weight or interaction effects on conduct disorder were observed. In this sample of children diagnosed with ADHD, we find no association between the COMT ValMet gene variant, birth weight, and conduct disorder. Further investigations are required before using birth weight and COMT genotype as predictors of conduct disorder in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, especially given the societal and legal ramifications of conduct disorder.

Epidemiological Comparisons of American and Dutch Children: II. Behavioral/Emotional Problems Reported by Teachers for Ages 6 to 11

May 1987


31 Reads

The purpose of this study was to test the cross-national applicability of a standardized procedure for obtaining teachers' reports of children's behavioral/emotional problems. The Teacher's Report Form of the Child Behavior Checklist was completed by teachers of 600 American and 748 Dutch nonreferred children randomly selected from regular school classes. Analyses controlling for sex, age, and socioeconomic status showed no significant difference between the total problem scores for American versus Dutch children, nor between the number of specific problems scored higher for one nationality than the other, nor between the proportion of internalizing versus externalizing problems scored higher for either nationality. Parent and teacher reports were compared to identify problems on which there were consistent nationality, sex, and socioeconomic differences. The findings support standardized cross-national assessment of teacher-reported behavioral/emotional problems. J. Amer. Acad. Child Adol.

Sex and Age Differences in Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Symptoms and Diagnoses: Implications for DSM-V and ICD-11

March 2010


648 Reads

To examine gender and age differences in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptom endorsement in a large community-based sample. Families with four or more full siblings ascertained from Missouri birth records completed telephone interviews regarding lifetime DSM-IV ADHD symptoms and the Strengths and Weaknesses of ADHD-Symptoms and Normal-behavior (SWAN) questionnaire for current ADHD symptoms. Complete data were available for 9,380 subjects aged 7 through 29 years. Lifetime and current DSM-IV-like ADHD diagnoses were assigned by the DSM-IV symptom criteria. Linear regression was used to examine sex and age effects on SWAN ADHD symptom scores. Logistic regression was used to examine sex and age effects on specific ADHD diagnoses. Fractional polynomial graphs were used to examine ADHD symptom count variations across age. Overall prevalence of current DSM-IV-like ADHD was 9.2% with a male:female ratio of 2.28:1. The prevalence of DSM-IV-like ADHD was highest in children. Gender differences in DSM-IV-like ADHD subtype prevalences were highest in adolescents. On average, individuals with lifetime DSM-IV-like ADHD diagnoses had elevated current ADHD symptoms even as adolescents or adults. Lower male:female ratios than reported in some clinic-based studies suggest that females are underdiagnosed in the community. Although they may no longer meet the full symptom criteria, young adults with a history of lifetime DSM-IV-like ADHD maintain higher levels of ADHD symptoms compared with the general population. The use of age-specific diagnostic criteria should be considered for DSM-V and ICD-11.

DSM-III disorders from age 11 to age 15years

February 1992


70 Reads

Although research into the continuity of disorder from childhood to adolescence is sparse, results from both longitudinal and cross sectional studies suggest that the prevalence of disorder increases for girls but may remain more stable for boys. In this paper, the methodologies of two assessment phases of the Dunedin longitudinal study have been equated to estimate the continuity of DSM-III disorder from ages 11 to 15. Although the overall prevalence of disorder doubled between the ages, this was primarily because of an increase in nonaggressive conduct disorder and major depressive episode. The sex ratios in disorder had largely reversed from a male predominance at 11 to a female predominance at 15. In terms of persistence, over 40% of those with disorder at age 11 were also identified at age 15. However, over 80% of those identified with disorder at 15 did not have a history of disorder at 11. Significant sex differences were also found in the continuity of internalizing and externalizing disorders, with externalizing disorders showing more continuity for boys, and internalizing for girls. Logistic regression models were employed to evaluate the roles family background, academic and social competence, and early histories of behavior problems may play in the determination of disorder continuity.

Prevalence and Risk Factors of Behavioral and Emotional Problems Among Chinese Children Aged 6 Through 11 Years

June 1999


52 Reads

To examine the prevalence and risk factors of behavioral and emotional problems in Chinese children. A sample of 2,940 children aged 6 through 11 years was randomly drawn from household registers in Shandong Province of China. Parents completed the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) and a structured self-rating questionnaire. The mean CBCL Total Problems score was 16.1 (SD = 14.0). There was no significant age effect on the Total Problems score; boys scored significantly higher than girls (17.2 versus 15.0; F = 24.94, p < .01). The overall prevalence rates of behavioral problems were 12.5% for boys and 8.3% for girls (chi 2 = 14.23, p < .01). Logistic regression analysis showed that a number of parental, prenatal, perinatal, and postnatal factors were significantly associated with increased risk of children's behavioral problems. The prevalence of parent-reported behavioral problems in Chinese children is lower than those found in other countries. Of multiple psychosocial and biological factors associated with children's behavioral problems, separation or divorce of parents is the most significant factor.

Do Children Aged 9 through 11 Years Understand the DISC Version 2.25 Questions?

August 1995


10 Reads

To assess the understanding of Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children-Version 2.25 (DISC-2.25) questions by children aged 9 through 11 years. Two hundred forty children were recruited from four public schools. The cognitive appraisal of 280 questions from the most prevalent DSM-III-R diagnoses was evaluated. The collaboration of four children was necessary to cover one DISC. Sixty DISCs, evenly distributed according to age and sex, were completed. Two child psychiatrists evaluated the children's answers. Nonparametric tests were used to assess understanding of questions as a whole, of time concepts (overall, categories, number), and of questions based on the number of words. Children aged 9, 10, and 11 years understood 38%, 38%, and 42% of the questions as a whole, respectively, and 26%, 24%, and 30% of the overall time concepts, respectively. The understanding rates of questions as a whole were significantly higher than those of overall time concepts. Durations were significantly better understood than periods and frequencies, and questions having one time component were significantly better grasped than those with two or more. Shorter questions were significantly better understood than longer ones. Although the DISC has been greatly improved since the initial version, the results suggest that additional revision is needed before clinicians or researchers use the DISC with younger children.

Epidemiology of Behavioral and Emotional Problems Among Thai and American Children: Parent Reports for Ages 6 to 11

December 1987


38 Reads

AbstractBehavioral and emotional problems of childhood may reflect the influence of culture: prevailing values and socialization practices may suppress development of some problems while fostering others. The authors explored this possibility, comparing 360 6‐to 11‐year‐olds in the Buddhist‐oriented, emotionally controlled culture of Thailand with 600 American 6‐ to 11‐year‐olds. Standardized parent reports on 118 child problems revealed 54 Thai‐U.S. differences (p < 0.01), generally modest in magnitude. Thai children were rated higher than Americans on 32 problems, particularly those involving Overcontrolled behavior (e.g., shyness, anxiety, depression). Across cultures, boys showed more fighting, impulsivity, and other Undercontrolled behavior than girls, and several age effects emerged. The findings provide epidemiological comparisons for two distinctly different cultures and contribute to a theoretical model of cultural influence.

Low Resting Heart Rate at Age 3 Years Predisposes to Aggression at Age 11 Years: Evidence From the Mauritius Child Health Project

October 1997


123 Reads

Previous studies indicate that low resting heart rate is probably the best-replicated biological correlate of childhood antisocial and aggressive behavior. Nevertheless, there have been few longitudinal tests of this relationship, little control over potential confounds and mediators, and no test of its cross-cultural generalizability. This study tests the hypothesis that low resting heart rate at age 3 years predicts aggression at age 11 years. Resting heart rate at age 3 years was assessed in 1,795 male and female children from Mauritius. Aggressive and nonaggressive forms of antisocial behavior were assessed at age 11 years using the Child Behavior Checklist. Aggressive children had lower heart rates than nonaggressive children (p < .001). Conversely, those with low heart rates were more aggressive than those with high heart rates (p < .003). There were no interactions with gender or ethnicity. Evidence was found for specificity of low heart rate to aggressive forms of antisocial behavior. Group differences in heart rate were not attributable to 11 biological, psychological, and psychiatric mediators and confounds. It is concluded that low resting heart rate, a partly heritable trait reflecting fearlessness and stimulation-seeking, is an important, diagnostically specific, well-replicated, early biological marker for later aggressive behavior.

Childhood Gender Nonconformity, Bullying Victimization, and Depressive Symptoms Across Adolescence and Early Adulthood: An 11-Year Longitudinal Study

February 2013


385 Reads

Childhood gender nonconformity has been associated with increased risk of caregiver abuse and bullying victimization outside the home, but it is unknown whether as a consequence children who are nonconforming are at higher risk of depressive symptoms. Using data from a large national cohort (N = 10,655), we examined differences in depressive symptoms from ages 12 through 30 years by gender nonconformity before age 11 years. We examined the prevalence of bullying victimization by gender nonconformity, then ascertained whether increased exposure to abuse and bullying accounted for possible increased risk of depressive symptoms. We further compared results stratified by sexual orientation. Participants in the top decile of childhood gender nonconformity were at elevated risk of depressive symptoms at ages 12 through 30 years (for females, 0.19 standard deviations more depressive symptoms than conforming females; for males, 0.34 standard deviations more symptoms than conforming males). By ages 23 to 30 years, 26% of participants in the top decile of childhood nonconformity had probable mild or moderate depression versus 18% of participants who were conforming (p<.001). Abuse and bullying victimization accounted for approximately half the increased prevalence of depressive symptoms in youth who were nonconforming versus conforming. Gender-nonconforming heterosexuals and males were at particularly elevated risk for depressive symptoms. Gender nonconformity was a strong predictor of depressive symptoms beginning in adolescence, particularly among males and heterosexuals. Physical and emotional bullying and abuse, both inside and outside the home, accounted for much of this increased risk.

Behavior Problems in 5− to 11-Year-Old Children from Low-Income Families

October 1994


55 Reads

The aims of the present study were to survey the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) scores (behavioral section) in a nonclinical population of US urban children from low-income families and to compare the distribution and pattern of scores with the normative data in the CBCL manual (1991). The sample consisted of 890 low-income children and a mother or female guardian selected randomly from among Seattle public school students aged 5 to 11 years. In this sample the total CBCL score as well as all subscale scores were significantly higher than the norms. The proportion of children who scored in the clinical/borderline range was also higher than the norm. These findings support previous work showing that poverty is a risk factor for mental distress in children. They also raise questions about the validity of the CBCL norms for screening or research purpose for low-income families.

Involvement in Bullying and Suicide-Related Behavior at 11 Years: A Prospective Birth Cohort Study

March 2012


743 Reads

To study the prospective link between involvement in bullying (bully, victim, bully/victim), and subsequent suicide ideation and suicidal/self-injurious behavior, in preadolescent children in the United Kingdom. A total of 6,043 children in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) cohort were assessed to ascertain involvement in bullying between 4 and 10 years and suicide related behavior at 11.7 years. Peer victimization (victim, bully/victim) was significantly associated with suicide ideation and suicidal/self-injurious behavior after adjusting for confounders. Bully/victims were at heightened risk for suicide ideation (odds ratio [OR]; 95% confidence interval [CI]): child report at 8 years (OR = 2.84; CI = 1.81-4.45); child report at 10 years (OR = 3.20; CI = 2.07-4.95); mother report (OR = 2.71; CI = 1.81-4.05); teacher report (OR = 2.79; CI = 1.62-4.81), as were chronic victims: child report (OR = 3.26; CI = 2.24-4.75); mother report (OR = 2.49; CI = 1.64-3.79); teacher report (OR = 5.99; CI = 2.79-12.88). Similarly, bully/victims were at heightened risk for suicidal/self-injurious behavior: child report at 8 years (OR = 2.67; CI = 1.66-4.29); child report at 10 years (OR = 3.34; CI = 2.17-5.15); mother report (OR = 2.09; CI = CI = 1.36-3.20); teacher report (OR = 2.44, CI = 1.39-4.30); as were chronic victims: child report (OR = 4.10; CI = 2.76-6.08); mother report (OR = 1.91; 1.22-2.99); teacher report (OR = 3.26; CI = 1.38-7.68). Pure bullies had increased risk of suicide ideation according to child report at age 8 years (OR = 3.60; CI = 1.46-8.84), suicidal/self-injurious behavior according to child report at age 8 years (OR = 3.02; CI = 1.14-8.02), and teacher report (OR = 1.84; CI = 1.09-3.10). Children involved in bullying, in any role, and especially bully/victims and chronic victims, are at increased risk for suicide ideation and suicidal/self-injurious behavior in preadolescence.

Multiple Personality Disorder in an 11‐Year‐Old Boy and His Mother

June 1987


58 Reads

An 11-year-old boy who initially received a DSM-III diagnosis of schizophrenia was found on further evaluation to have multiple personality disorder. Factors important in the differential diagnosis were differentiation of personalities from auditory hallucinations, a history of multiple personality disorder in the mother, and recognition of the special features of the disorder when it occurs in childhood. J. Amer. Acad. Child Adol. Psychiat., 1987, 26, 3:436–439.

Cognitive Development in Low Attentive, Hyperactive, and Aggressive 6- through 11-year-Old Children

April 1987


16 Reads

In a national probability sample of 6- through 11-year-old children, the relationship between the children's cognitive development and three teacher rated attributes, low attentiveness, hyperactivity, and aggressivity, was examined. Family context as defined by parental education and family income per individual under 21 years of age in the household were controlled. Analyses of covariance revealed that the attribute of below average attentiveness was associated with significantly lower performance on tests of intelligene (WISC Vocabulary and Block Design) and on tests of achievement (Reasing and Arithmetic subtests of the Wide Range Achievement Test). Hyperactivity alone was not associated with differences in cognitive development, whereas aggressivity in boys but not in girls was associated with lower performance on Block Design.

An Open Trial of Clozapine in 11 Adolescents with Childhood-Onset Schizophrenia

July 1994


36 Reads

To review the response of 11 adolescents with childhood-onset schizophrenia to a 6-week open clozapine trial. Eleven children meeting DSM-III-R criteria for schizophrenia had a 6-week open trial of clozapine (mean sixth week daily dose 370 mg). Behavioral ratings included the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale and Children's Global Assessment Scale. More than half showed marked improvement in Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale ratings by 6 weeks of clozapine therapy compared to admission drug rating and compared to a systematic 6-week trial of haloperidol. This open trial indicates that clozapine may be a promising treatment for children and adolescents with schizophrenia who do not respond well to typical neuroleptics. A double-blind placebo-controlled study is ongoing.

Prevalence of DSM-IV Psychiatric Disorders in Extremely Preterm Children (n 219) and Classmates (n 152) at 11 Years of Age
Psychiatric Disorders in Extremely Preterm Children: Longitudinal Finding at Age 11 Years in the EPICure Study

May 2010


1,215 Reads

To investigate the prevalence and risk factors for psychiatric disorders in extremely preterm children. All babies born <26 weeks gestation in the United Kingdom and Ireland from March through December 1995 were recruited to the EPICure Study. Of 307 survivors at 11 years of age, 219 (71%) were assessed alongside 153 term-born classmates. Parents completed a structured psychiatric interview about their child, and teachers completed a corresponding questionnaire from which DSM-IV diagnoses were assigned for 219 (100%) extremely preterm children and 152 (99%) classmates. An IQ test and a physical evaluation were also administered. Longitudinal data were available for extremely preterm children. Extremely preterm children were more than three times more likely to have a psychiatric disorder than classmates (23% vs. 9%; odds ratio [OR] = 3.2; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.7, 6.2). Risk was significantly increased for: attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD; 11.5% vs. 2.9%; OR = 4.3; CI = 1.5 to 13.0), with increased risk for ADHD inattentive subtype (OR = 10.5; CI = 1.4 to 81.1) but not ADHD combined subtype (OR = 2.1; CI = 0.5 to 7.9); emotional disorders (9.0% vs. 2.1%; OR = 4.6; CI = 1.3 to 15.9), with increased risk for anxiety disorders (OR = 3.5; CI = 1.0 to 12.4); and autism spectrum disorders (8.0% vs. 0%; p = .000). Psychiatric disorders were significantly associated with cognitive impairment (OR = 3.5; CI = 1.8 to 6.4). Parent-reported behavioral problems at 2.5 and 6 years were independent predictors of psychiatric disorders at 11 years. Extremely preterm children are at increased risk for ADHD, emotional disorders, and autism spectrum disorders at 11 years of age. The mechanism of association with psychiatric disorder may include both cognitive impairment and early traumatic experiences that have an impact on both child and parent. Early screening for cognitive and behavioral problems may identify those at greatest risk.

The Dominic-R: A Pictorial Interview for 6- to 11-Year-Old Children

February 2000


489 Reads

To review the Dominic-R and the Terry questionnaires, respectively, for white and African-American children, both DSM-III-R-based, and more recent DSM-IV-based computerized versions. Five papers describing the development, content, validation studies, and establishment of the diagnostic cutpoints of these instruments are reviewed. The instruments are pictorial, fully structured, and designed to assess mental disorders in children 6 to 11 years of age. Symptom descriptions complement the visual stimulus, providing better information-processing than visual or auditory stimuli alone. Cognitive immaturity of young children bars frequency, duration, and age-of-onset measurements, restricting correspondence with DSM criteria. DSM-IV (computerized versions) and DSM-III-R (paper versions) disorders being assessed include specific (simple) phobias, separation anxiety, generalized anxiety (overanxious), depression/dysthymia, attention-deficit hyperactivity, oppositional defiant, and conduct disorder. Test-retest reliability of symptoms and symptom scores and criterion validity against clinical judgment support the visual-auditory combination of stimuli to assess child mental health. Intended for clinical, epidemiological, and screening purposes, these instruments are short and simple. Although it only approximates DSM-III-R and DSM-IV criteria, the pictorial format permits young children to be reliable informants about their mental health.

Emotional Reactivity and the Emergence of Conduct Problems and Emotional Symptoms in 7- to 11-Year-Olds: A 1-Year Follow-up Study

June 2008


83 Reads

To determine whether individual differences in emotional reactivity predicted high levels of conduct problems and/or emotional (depressive and anxiety) symptoms at 1-year follow-up in a community sample of 7- to 11-year-old children (N = 659). The study used a prospective design with picture perception methodology at baseline to elicit emotional responses from children. Conduct problems and symptoms of anxiety and depression were evaluated using repeated measures from self-, teacher, and parent report questionnaires completed at baseline and 1 year. Children who reported decreased emotional arousal to unpleasant (B = -0.069; p = .011) and pleasant (B = -0.134; p = .036) pictures showed higher levels of self-reported and teacher-reported conduct problems at 1-year follow-up, respectively. Conversely, children who reported increased emotional arousal to neutral pictures (B = 0.661; p = .030) at baseline showed higher levels of anxiety symptoms at follow-up. These findings held when baseline level of problems and symptoms, sex, age, socioeconomic status, and IQ were taken into account. Findings were nonsignificant for symptoms of depression at the multivariate level of analyses. Although findings showed that symptom level at baseline remains the best predictor of symptom level at follow-up, these prospective findings extend previous reports in children and adults and provide predictive validity for decreased arousal correlating with high levels of subsequent conduct problems and increased arousal correlating with high levels of subsequent anxiety symptoms. Differences in emotional processing may constitute a risk process for the subsequent onset of conduct and anxiety disorder in middle childhood.

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