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The codevelopment of internalizing symptoms, externalizing symptoms, and cognitive ability across childhood and adolescence

Papachristou, E; Flouri, E; (2019) The codevelopment of internalizing symptoms, externalizing symptoms, and cognitive ability across childhood and adolescence. Development and Psychopathology 10.1017/S0954579419001330. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Cognitive ability, externalizing symptoms, and internalizing symptoms are correlated in children. However, it is not known why they combine in the general child population over time. To address this, we used data on 17,318 children participating in the UK Millennium Cohort Study and followed-up five times between ages 3 and 14 years. We fitted three parallel-process latent growth curve models to identify the parallel unfolding of children's trajectories of internalizing symptoms, externalizing symptoms, and cognitive ability across this period. We also examined the effects of time-invariant (ethnicity, birth weight, maternal education and age at birth, and breastfeeding status) and time-varying covariates (maternal psychological distress and socioeconomic disadvantage) on the growth parameters of the trajectories. The results showed that the intercepts of the trajectories of cognitive ability and, particularly, externalizing symptoms were inversely correlated. Their linear slopes were also inversely correlated, suggesting parallel development. Internalizing symptoms were correlated positively with externalizing symptoms and inversely (and more modestly) with cognitive ability at baseline, but the slope of internalizing symptoms correlated (positively) only with the slope of externalizing symptoms. The covariates predicted 9% to 41% of the variance in the intercepts and slopes of all domains, suggesting they are important common risk factors. Overall, it appears that externalizing symptoms develop in parallel with both cognitive ability and internalizing symptoms from early childhood through to middle adolescence. Children on an increasing trajectory of externalizing symptoms are likely both increasing in internalizing symptoms and decreasing in cognitive skills as well, and are thus an important group to target for intervention.

Type: Article
Title: The codevelopment of internalizing symptoms, externalizing symptoms, and cognitive ability across childhood and adolescence
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1017/S0954579419001330
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0954579419001330
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions
Keywords: Internalising symptoms, externalising symptoms, cognitive ability, trajectories, childhood, adolescence
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Psychology and Human Development
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10083715
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