Joint developmental trajectories of internalizing and externalizing problems from mid-childhood to late adolescence and childhood risk factors: Findings from a prospective pre-birth cohort

Sarita Bista, Robert J. Tait, Leon M. Straker, Ashleigh Lin, Katharine Steinbeck, Petra L. Graham, Melissa Kang, Sharyn Lymer, Monique Robinson, Jennifer L. Marino, S. Rachel Skinner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

There is limited evidence on heterogenous co-developmental trajectories of internalizing (INT) and externalizing (EXT) problems from childhood to adolescence and predictors of these joint trajectories. We utilized longitudinal data from Raine Study participants (n = 2393) to identify these joint trajectories from 5 to 17 years using parallel-process latent class growth analysis and analyze childhood individual and family risk factors predicting these joint trajectories using multinomial logistic regression. Five trajectory classes were identified: Low-problems (Low-INT/Low-EXT, 29%), Moderate Externalizing (Moderate-EXT/Low-INT, 26.5%), Primary Internalizing (Moderate High-INT/Low-EXT, 17.5%), Co-occurring (High-INT/High-EXT, 17%), High Co-occurring (Very High-EXT/High-INT, 10%). Children classified in Co-occurring and High Co-occurring trajectories (27% of the sample) exhibited clinically meaningful co-occurring problem behaviors and experienced more adverse childhood risk-factors than other three trajectories. Compared with Low-problems: parental marital problems, low family income, and absent father predicted Co-occurring and High Co-occurring trajectories; maternal mental health problems commonly predicted Primary Internalizing, Co-occurring, and High Co-occurring trajectories; male sex and parental tobacco-smoking uniquely predicted High Co-occurring membership; other substance smoking uniquely predicted Co-occurring membership; speech difficulty uniquely predicted Primary Internalizing membership; child's temper-tantrums predicted all four trajectories, with increased odds ratios for High Co-occurring (OR = 8.95) and Co-occurring (OR = 6.07). Finding two co-occurring trajectories emphasizes the importance of early childhood interventions addressing comorbidity.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
JournalDevelopment and Psychopathology
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Jan 2024

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