Background. This study aimed to test the vulnerability model of the relationship between temperament and mental disorders using a large sample of adolescents from the TRacking Adolescents Individual Lives' Survey (TRAILS). The vulnerability model argues that particular temperaments can place individuals at risk for the development of mental health problems. Importantly, the model may imply that not only baseline temperament predicts mental health problems prospectively, but additionally, that changes in temperament predict corresponding changes in risk for mental health problems. Methods. Data were used from 1195 TRAILS participants. Adolescent temperament was assessed both at age 11 and at age 16. Onset of mental disorders between age 16 and 19 was assessed at age 19, by means of the World Health Organization Composite International Diagnostic Interview (WHO CIDI). Results. Results showed that temperament at age 11 predicted future mental disorders, thereby providing support for the vulnerability model. Moreover, temperament change predicted future mental disorders above and beyond the effect of basal temperament. For example, an increase in frustration increased the risk of mental disorders proportionally. Conclusion. This study confirms, and extends, the vulnerability model. Consequences of both temperament and temperament change were general (e.g., changes in frustration predicted both internalizing and externalizing disorders) as well as dimension specific (e.g., changes in fear predicted internalizing but not externalizing disorders). These findings confirm previous studies, which showed that mental disorders have both unique and shared underlying temperamental risk factors.
© 2013 The Authors. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry © 2013 Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health.
Psychopathology during adolescence has been associated with poor academic performance, low social well-being, and low social preference by peers at school. However, previous research has not accounted for comorbid psychopathology, informant-specific associations between psychopathology and functioning, and gender and age differences. This study addresses these limitations by examining adolescents' psychopathology and functioning at school, reported by child, parent, teacher, and peers during primary and secondary school in a large Dutch longitudinal cohort study (N = 2230). Teacher reports of psychopathology, especially regarding attention problems and withdrawn/depressed problems, followed by parent reports regarding hyperactivity, were most strongly associated with academic performance. The same held for social preference which was associated with teacher and parent ratings of withdrawn/depressed problems and hyperactivity. In contrast, social well-being was best predicted by child reports (at primary school) of affective problems. In girls, the association between ADHD problems and poor academic performance was stronger than in boys and conduct problems were more often associated with poor school functioning in general. These findings can help identify adolescents at risk for poor functioning and design interventions that effectively reduce or prevent poor school functioning.
Background. This study examines if mental health problems at age 11 and changes in mental health problems between age 11 and 16 predict educational attainment of adolescents at age 19, overall and stratified by gender. Methods. Data from 1711 adolescents (76.8% from initial cohort) of the Tracking Adolescents' Individual Lives Survey (TRAILS), a Dutch prospective cohort study with 9 year follow-up, were used. Mental health problems (externalizing, internalizing and attention problems) were measured by the Youth Self Report and the Child Behavior Checklist at ages 11 and 16. Difference scores for mental health problems between age 11 and 16 were calculated. Educational attainment was assessed at age 19. Results. Externalizing, internalizing and attention problems at age 11 were significantly associated with low educational attainment at age 19 (crude model). When adjusted for demographic variables and the other mental health problems, only the association for attention problems remained significant (odds ratio (OR), 95% confidence interval: 3.19, 2.11-4.83). Increasing externalizing problems between age 11 and 16 also predicted low educational attainment at age 19 (OR 3.12, 1.83-5.32). Among girls, increasing internalizing problems between age 11 and 16 predicted low educational attainment (OR 2.21, 1.25-3.94). For boys, no significant association was found for increasing internalizing problems and low educational attainment. For increasing attention problems between age 11 and 16 no significant association with low educational attainment was found. Conclusions. Externalizing, internalizing and attention problems at age 11 and an increase of these problems during adolescence predicted low educational attainment at age 19. Early treatment of these mental health problems may improve educational attainment, and reduce socioeconomic health differences in adulthood.
Objective. To construct a risk score for adolescent mental health problems among children, using parental data only and without potentially stigmatizing mental health items. Methods. We prospectively derived a prediction model for mental health problems at age 16 using data from parent report on 1676 children aged 11 from the general population. Mental health problems were considered present in the top 15% scores on the combined Achenbach ratings. The model was validated in a separate cohort (n = 336) children. A risk score was constructed for practical application. Results. In the derivation cohort, 248 (14.8%) had mental health problems at follow-up. Predictors in the final model were gender, maternal educational level, family history of psychopathology, math achievement at school, frequently moving house, severe disease or death in the family, parental divorce, and child frustration level. The model was well calibrated, showed good discriminatory power (area under the curve 0.75; 95% confidence interval 0.72-0.78), and validated well. The risk score stratified children in classes of risk ranging from 6.6% to 52.2%. Conclusions. A risk score based on parent-reported data only and without mental health items accurately estimated the 5-year risk of adolescent mental health problems among children from the general population. Children with high risk may benefit from further monitoring or intervention. The risk score may be particularly suitable when parents want to circumvent an explicit discussion on possible mental health problems of their child.
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