Developmental patterns of anxiety and depression symptoms in early childhood have previously been related to anxiety and mood disorders in middle childhood. In the current study, trajectories of anxiety and depression symptoms (1.5–10 years) were related to children’s broader psychosocial and school-related functioning at 10 years. We included a population-based sample of 7499 children, for whom primary caregivers reported anxiety and depression symptoms on the Child Behavior Checklist, at children’s ages of 1.5, 3, 6, and 10. Growth Mixture Modeling identified four distinct, gender-invariant, trajectories of anxiety and depression symptoms: low (82.4%), increasing (7.4%), decreasing (6.0%), and increasing symptoms up to age 6 followed by a decrease to age 10 (preschool-limited, 4.2%). Children with a non-Dutch ethnicity had lower odds to be in the increasing trajectory and higher odds to be in the decreasing and pre-school limited trajectory. Also, low maternal education predicted the decreasing and pre-school limited trajectory. Higher levels of psychopathology during pregnancy for both mothers and fathers predicted the increasing, decreasing, and preschool-limited trajectory, compared to the low trajectory. At age 10, children in the increasing and preschool-limited trajectory had diminished psychosocial outcomes (friendship-quality and self-esteem) and worse school-related outcomes (school performance and school problems). This study adds to current knowledge by demonstrating that developmental patterns of anxiety and depression symptoms in early childhood are related to broader negative outcomes in middle childhood. Child and family factors could guide monitoring of anxiety and depression symptoms in the general population and provide targets for prevention programs.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Anxiety and depression symptoms . Developmental trajectories . Early childhood . Growth mixture modeling . Psychosocial outcomes . School outcomes
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10802-019-00550-5, hdl.handle.net/1765/121296
Journal Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology
Citation
de Lijster, J.M, van den Dries, M.A., van den Ende, J.C.M, Utens, E.M.W.J, Jaddoe, V.W.V, Dieleman, G.C, … Legerstee, J.S. (2019). Developmental Trajectories of Anxiety and Depression Symptoms from Early to Middle Childhood: a Population-Based Cohort Study in the Netherlands. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 47(11), 1785–1798. doi:10.1007/s10802-019-00550-5