Latent class analysis of child behavior checklist anxiety/depression in children and adolescents

Martha E. Wadsworth, James J. Hudziak, Andrew C. Heath, Thomas M. Achenbach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: Comorbidity of psychiatric problems such as anxiety and depression poses challenges to treatment and research. This study tested whether problem items from the Anxious/Depressed scale of the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) can be separated into distinct anxiety and depression classes or are continuously distributed throughout a population. Method: A CBCL was completed by a parent or guardian of each of 1,987 children and adolescents selected to represent nonreferred children in the United States, as well as by a parent or guardian of each of a demographically matched sample of 1,987 clinically referred children and adolescents. Problem items from the Anxious/Depressed scale of the CBCL were subjected to latent class analysis. Results: Analyses revealed three levels of problem presentation in both samples. Children in the nonreferred sample were classified as having no problems, mild problems, or moderate anxiety/depression problems. Children and adolescents in the referred group were classified as having mild, moderate, or severe levels of problems. No pure anxiety or depression classes were found, only classes containing a mixture of both anxiety and depressive problems. Age, gender, and sample differences were found in class groupings, with nonreferred adolescent girls showing elevated levels of problems. Conclusions: Results suggest that the comorbid conditions of anxiety and depression, as assessed by the CBCL anxiety/depression problem items, can be thought of as part of the same continuum of problems. Implications for assessment and treatment utilization are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106-114
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Volume40
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2001

Keywords

  • Anxiety
  • Child Behavior Checklist
  • Depression
  • Latent class analysis

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