Recently, a phenotype of severe dysregulation, the Dysregulation Profile (DP), has been identified. DP consists of elevated scores on the Anxious/Depressed (AD), Aggressive Behavior (AGG) and Attention Problems (AP) scales of the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL), Teacher Report Form (TRF), or Youth Self Report (YSR). A drawback in current research is that DP has been conceptualized and operationalized in different manners and research on the factor structure of DP is lacking. Therefore, we examined the factor structure of DP across multiple reporters, measurement invariance across gender, parents, and time, as well as links between DP and self-harm and suicidal ideation. Data from a large community sample were used (N = 697), covering middle childhood (Mage = 7.90, (SD = 1.16) and adolescence (Mage = 13.93, SD = 1.14). Mothers, fathers, teachers, and youth themselves reported on children’s emotional and behavioral problems using the CBCL, TRF, and YSR. Results indicated that in middle childhood and in adolescence, a bifactor model with a general factor of Dysregulation alongside three specific factors of AD, AGG, and AP fitted best, compared to a second-order or one-factor model. The model showed good fit for mother, father, teacher, and youth reports and showed invariance across gender, parents and time. Youth, mother, and father reported Dysregulation was uniquely and positively related to adolescent-reported self-harm and suicidal ideation. The DP is best conceptualized as a broad dysregulation syndrome, which exists over and above anxiety/depression, aggression, and attention problems as specific problems. The bifactor model of DP explains the uniqueness and interrelatedness of these behavioral problems and can help explaining shared and non-shared etiology factors. The exclusive link between the general dysregulation factor and adolescents’ self-harm and suicidal ideation further established the clinical relevance of the bifactor model.

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European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Department of Pedagogical Sciences

Deutz, M., Geeraert, S. B., Van Baar, A., Deković, M., & Prinzie, P. (2016). The Dysregulation Profile in middle childhood and adolescence across reporters: factor structure, measurement invariance, and links with self-harm and suicidal ideation. European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 25(4), 431–442. doi:10.1007/s00787-015-0745-x