Longitudinal Associations Between Externalizing Problems and Symptoms of Depression in Children and Adolescents
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The longitudinal links between symptoms of externalizing difficulties-oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) and conduct disorder (CD)-and symptoms of depression are unclear. Therefore, we were interested in examining the temporal relation of symptoms of ODD, CD, and depression across 7 years in a sample of 643 10-year-old children (M = 10.91, SD = 0.36) at Time 1 using cross-lagged path analysis. Although symptoms of ODD predicted depressive symptoms across most time points and CD at Time 1 negatively predicted depressive symptoms at Time 3, evidence of the inverse relation was also found for both ODD and CD. Sex differences did not emerge. These findings add to the mixed literature on the directionality of externalizing and internalizing difficulties in children and adolescents by suggesting the presence of a reciprocal relation.
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