OBJECTIVE: The goal of this study was to predict the onset of mood and anxiety disorders from parent-reported emotional and behavioral problems in childhood across a 14-year period from childhood into young adulthood. METHOD: In 1983, parent reports of behavioral and emotional problems were obtained with the Child Behavior Checklist for children and adolescents 4-16 years of age from the Dutch general population. At follow-up 14 years later, lifetime mood and anxiety diagnoses were obtained by a standardized DSM-IV interview for 1,580 subjects. Cox proportional hazards models were used to predict the incidence of mood and anxiety disorders from childhood problems and demographic covariates. RESULTS: Mood disorders were significantly predicted by high scores on the anxious/depressed scale and on the internalizing composite (withdrawn, somatic complaints, and anxious/depressed). Anxiety disorders were significantly predicted by the social problems scale and the externalizing composite (delinquent behavior and aggressive behavior). Anxiety disorders predominantly started in childhood and early adolescence, whereas the incidence of mood disorders increased sharply in adolescence and young adulthood. CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest different developmental pathways for mood and anxiety disorders. The predictions based on problem behavior remained stable during the 14-year period across adolescence and young adulthood. The results therefore underline the importance of early intervention and prevention of behavioral and emotional problems in childhood.

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The American Journal of Psychiatry
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Roza, S., Hofstra, M., van der Ende, J., & Verhulst, F. (2003). Stable prediction of mood and anxiety disorders based on behavioral and emotional problems in childhood: a 14-year follow-up during childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood. The American Journal of Psychiatry. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/10246