Classes of adolescents with disruptive behaviors in a general population sample
Background. To study disruptive behaviors adequately, we need to distinguish between individuals with different types of problems that may have a different etiology. The availability of a taxonomic system that helps in identifying homogeneous groups of individuals, with similar patterns of disruptive behaviors, is crucial to achieve this goal. Therefore, we examine which classes of preadolescents with symptoms of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), and Conduct Disorder (CD) can be identified in the general population. Methods: Disruptive behaviors of 2,230 10-12 year olds from the Dutch general population were assessed with the Child Behavior Checklist and Youth Self-Report. Results: Latent class analysis revealed three classes of preadolescents: the first characterized by high scores on ADHD, ODD, and CD items; a second by high probabilities of ADHD and ODD symptoms; a third with low scores on all items. Conclusions: Because classes of preadolescents with symptoms of only one type of disruptive behavior problems could not be identified, it can be questioned how useful separate diagnostic distinctions are in general population studies.