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Am J Psychiatry. 1999 Oct;156(10):1529-35.

Influence of child and adolescent psychiatric disorders on young adult personality disorder.

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Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University, New York, USA.



This study examines associations between childhood psychopathology and young adult personality disorder in a random sample of 551 youths, who were 9 to 16 years old at first assessment.


Subjects were evaluated for DSM-III-R psychiatric disorders. Information was obtained prospectively from youths and their mothers at three points over 10 years. The predictive effects of prior axis I disorders and adolescent axis II personality disorder clusters A, B, and C on young adult personality disorder were examined in logistic regression analyses.


The odds of young adult personality disorder increased given an adolescent personality disorder in the same cluster. Prior disruptive disorders, anxiety disorders, and major depression all significantly increased the odds of young adult personality disorder independent of an adolescent personality disorder. In addition, comorbidity of axis I and axis II disorders heightened the odds of young adult personality disorder relative to the odds of a disorder on a single axis.


Assessment of personality pathology before late adolescence may be warranted. Childhood or adolescent axis I disorders may set in motion a chain of maladaptive behaviors and environmental responses that foster more persistent psychopathology over time. Identification and treatment of childhood disorder may help to reduce that risk.

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