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J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2007 May;48(5):498-507.

Developmental course of psychopathology in youths with and without intellectual disabilities.

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Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Erasmus MC-Sophia, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.



We aimed to describe similarities and differences in the developmental course of psychopathology between children with and without intellectual disabilities (ID).


Multilevel growth curve analysis was used to analyse the developmental course of psychopathology, using the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL), in two longitudinal multiple-birth-cohort samples of 6- to 18-year-old children with ID (N = 978) and without ID (N = 2,047) using three repeated measurements across a 6-year period.


Children with ID showed a higher level of problem behaviours across all ages compared to children without ID. A significant difference between the samples in the developmental courses was found for Aggressive Behaviour and Attention Problems, where children with ID showed a significantly larger decrease. Gender differences in the development of psychopathology were similar in both samples, except for Social Problems where males with ID showed a larger decrease in problem behaviour across time than females with ID and males and females without ID.


Results indicate that children with ID continue to show a greater risk for psychopathology compared to typically developing children, although this higher risk is less pronounced at age 18 than it is at age 6 for Aggressive Behaviour. Contrary to our expectations, the developmental course of psychopathology in children with ID was quite similar from age 6 to 18 compared to children without ID. The normative developmental trajectories of psychopathology in children with ID, presented here, can serve as a yardstick against which development of childhood psychopathology can be detected as deviant.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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