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Developmental course of psychopathology in youths with and without intellectual disabilities

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

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. Results: 

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. Conclusions: 

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.
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Keywords: Intellectual disability; behaviour problems; development; longitudinal studies

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Erasmus MC-Sophia, Rotterdam, The Netherlands 2: Department of Developmental Psychology, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Publication date: May 1, 2007

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