BACKGROUND: For children referred to mental health services future functioning may be hampered. AIMS: To examine stability and prediction of behavioural and emotional problems from childhood into adulthood. METHOD: A referred sample (n = 789) aged 4-18 years was followed up after a mean of 10.5 years. Scores derived from the Child Behavior Checklist, Youth Self-Report and Teacher Report Form were related to equivalent scores for young adults from the Young Adult Self-Report and Young Adult Behavior Checklist. RESULTS: Correlations between first contact (T1) and follow-up (T2) scores were 0.12-0.53. Young adult psychopathology was predicted by corresponding T1 problem scores. Social problems and anxious/depressed scores were predictors of general problem behaviour. CONCLUSIONS: Problem behaviour of children and adolescents referred to outpatient mental health services is highly predictive of similar problem behaviour at young adulthood. Stability is higher for externalizing than for internalizing behaviour and for intra-informant than for inter-informant information. Stabilities are similar across gender. To obtain a comprehensive picture of the young adult's functioning, information from related adults may prove valuable.

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British Journal of Psychiatry
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Heijmens Visser, J., van der Ende, J., Koot, H., & Verhulst, F. (2000). Predictors of psychopathology in young adults referred to mental health services in childhood or adolescence. British Journal of Psychiatry. Retrieved from