The classification of child psychopathology: A review and analysis of empirical efforts

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Abstract

Reviews empirically derived syndromes of child behavior problems, and identifies those having counterparts in 2 or more studies. A distinction between broad-band and narrow-band syndromes was made. Broad-band undercontrolled and overcontrolled syndromes and narrow-band aggressive, delinquent, hyperactive, schizoid, anxious, depressed, somatic, and withdrawn syndromes were found in diverse samples of disturbed children. Two other broad-band and 6 other narrow-band syndromes were found in a few studies. Test-retest reliabilities and stabilities of syndrome scores were more adequate than interrater reliabilities. Cross-instrument and cross-population consistencies corroborated some empirically derived syndromes but the lack of independent criteria for categorizing disturbed children made it difficult to establish criterion-referenced validity. Because categorization of children by syndromes has been limited primarily to the broad-band undercontrolled-overcontrolled dichotomy, it is suggested that more efforts are needed to translate syndromes into categories for use by practitioners and researchers. It is concluded that further work in this area should be systematically linked to the existing mental health system and to efforts at reforming this system. (98 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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