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DSM-III-R disorders in preschool children from low-income families.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of Chicago, IL 60637, USA.



To generate rates of DSM-III-R disorders in a sample of preschool children from low-income families, examine impairment ratings for preschool children meeting criteria for DSM-III-R disorders, and compare rates of psychopathology using DSM-III-R criteria with rates generated by the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL).


As part of an ongoing longitudinal study of 104 mother-child dyads from low-income families, data were gathered when children were 5 years of age. DSM-III-R disorders were diagnosed through the administration of the Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia for School-Age Children to the mothers, and mothers competed the CBCL.


Rates of DSM-III-R disorders among preschool children from low-income families were higher than those reported in community samples, but comparable with rates for low-income school-age children and adolescents. Children meeting criteria for DSM-III-R disorders were rated as significantly impaired. The prevalence of behavioral and emotional problems was similar by both DSM-III-R criteria and the CBCL. There was some evidence, however, that the two systems identified different children.


DSM-III-R criteria appear to adequately identify preschool children with serious behavioral and emotional problems. Longitudinal studies are needed to explore further the relative utility of the DSM and CBCL in the identification of psychopathology in preschool children.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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