Objective: The authors determined the impact of different pathways of psychopathological development on adult outcome in subjects followed from ages 11-18 to ages 21-28. Method: Problem behaviors of subjects from a general population sample were assessed through the Youth Self-Report and the Young Adult Self-Report given at four time points (1987, 1989, 1991, and 1997). In addition, DSM-IV diagnoses, information pertaining to signs of maladjustment, and measures of social functioning were obtained at the last assessment. On the basis of the self-report ratings, four contrasting developmental pathways of psychopathology were determined: persistent, decreasing, increasing, and consistently normal. Results: Subjects whose overall level of psychopathology was persistent over time had a higher lifetime prevalence of DSM-IV diagnoses and a poorer general outcome in adulthood than did subjects whose level of psychopathology increased. Subjects whose level of psychopathology returned to normal after high levels of problems in adolescence were only slightly different in terms of outcome from subjects with consistently normal ratings. Conclusions: 1) People who showed high levels of problems in early adolescence but whose level of psychopathology diminished by adulthood seemed to be as healthy as people who never attained a serious level of psychopathology. 2) An ongoing devious pathway into adulthood had negative effects on many domains of functioning. These two findings are both powerful arguments for early intervention in adolescence.

dx.doi.org/10.1176/appi.ajp.159.3.401, hdl.handle.net/1765/59577
The American Journal of Psychiatry
Pediatric Psychiatry

Hofstra, M.B, van der Ende, J, & Verhulst, F.C. (2002). Pathways of self-reported problem behaviors from adolescence into adulthood. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 159(3), 401–407. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.159.3.401