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J Affect Disord. 2017 Jul;216:109-116. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2016.09.016. Epub 2016 Sep 21.

Empirically derived patterns of psychiatric symptoms in youth: A latent profile analysis.

Author information

1
Emotion and Development Branch, National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA. Electronic address: kircanskik@mail.nih.gov.
2
Emotion and Development Branch, National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.
3
Department of Psychology, San Diego State University, University of California, San Diego, USA; Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology, San Diego State University, University of California, San Diego, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

By conceptualizing domains of behavior transdiagnostically, the National Institute of Mental Health Research Domain Criteria (NIMH RDoC) initiative facilitates new ways of studying psychiatric symptoms. In this study, latent profile analysis (LPA) was used to empirically derive classes or patterns of psychiatric symptoms in youth that transect traditional nosologic boundaries.

METHODS:

Data were drawn from 509 children and adolescents (ages 7-18 years; mean age =12.9 years; 54% male) who were evaluated in the NIMH Emotion and Development Branch and were heterogeneous with respect to presenting diagnoses and symptoms. Youth and/or their parents completed measures of several core symptom dimensions: irritability, anxiety, depression, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). LPA was used to parse response patterns into distinct classes, based on the levels of, and interrelations among, scores on the different measures.

RESULTS:

Five classes emerged: low levels of symptomatology (52% of sample); anxiety and mild depressive symptoms (17%); parent-reported irritability and ADHD (16%); irritability and mixed comorbid symptoms (10%); and high levels of irritability, anxiety, depression, and ADHD (5%). Importantly, these latent classes cut across informants and the clinical conditions for which youth were initially evaluated. Further, the classes characterized by irritability exhibited the poorest overall functioning.

LIMITATIONS:

These data were cross-sectional. Examination of external validators, including neurobiological correlates and symptom course, is warranted.

CONCLUSIONS:

Results inform our understanding of the structure of psychiatric symptoms in youth and suggest new ways to operationalize psychopathology and examine it in relation to neurobiology.

KEYWORDS:

Children; Comorbidity; Latent profile analysis; Symptoms; Transdiagnostic

PMID:
27692699
PMCID:
PMC5360533
DOI:
10.1016/j.jad.2016.09.016
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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