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Criterion Validity and Utility of the General Factor of Psychopathology in Childhood: Predictive Associations With Independently Measured Severe Adverse Mental Health Outcomes in Adolescence
Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0149-9002
University of Chicago, Chicago IL, USA.
Örebro University, School of Medical Sciences. Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6851-3297
Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.
2018 (English)In: Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, ISSN 0890-8567, E-ISSN 1527-5418, Vol. 57, no 6, p. 372-383Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Objective: We examined whether a parent-rated general factor of psychopathology in childhood would predict independently measured, severe adverse mental health outcomes in adolescence.

Method: We used the Child and Adolescent Twin Study in Sweden, which targets all twin children in Sweden. Parents rated their children (N = 16,806) on 43 symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity/impulsivity, conduct problems, and anxiety/emotionality when the twins turned 9 or 12 years of age. Adverse mental health outcomes in adolescence were retrieved from national registers, and included psychiatric diagnoses, prescription of anxiolytic or antidepressant medication, court convictions of crimes, and failure to achieve eligibility for high school.

Results: Parent-rated inattention, hyperactivity/impulsivity, conduct problems, and anxiety/emotionality in childhood predicted all adverse mental health outcomes in adolescence (mean odds ratio = 1.76; range = 1.41-2.18; all p <.05). However, several of these associations were nonsignificant in a multiple regression framework, suggesting the influence of common variance. A general factor of psychopathology uniquely predicted all outcomes (mean odds ratio = 1.58; range = 1.34-1.84; all p <.05), whereas the specific factors predicted only a subset of the outcomes.

Conclusion: Mental health problems in childhood are associated with a host of adverse outcomes in adolescence, and, to a considerable extent, these associations are driven by a general factor of psychopathology. The general factor may therefore be important to clinical prognosis, which informs clinical decision making for children.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2018. Vol. 57, no 6, p. 372-383
Keywords [en]
General factor of psychopathology, bifactor, p-factor, heterotypic continuity
National Category
Pediatrics Psychiatry Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-71254DOI: 10.1016/j.jaac.2017.12.016ISI: 000453802400005PubMedID: 29859553OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-71254DiVA, id: diva2:1276803
Funder
Swedish Society for Medical Research (SSMF)Swedish Research CouncilForte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and WelfareEU, FP7, Seventh Framework Programme
Note

Funding Agency:

Swedish Research Council (SIMSAM)

Available from: 2019-01-09 Created: 2019-01-09 Last updated: 2019-01-09Bibliographically approved

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Larsson, Henrik

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