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DSM-5 disruptive mood dysregulation disorder: correlates and predictors in young children

  • L. R. Dougherty (a1), V. C. Smith (a1), S. J. Bufferd (a2), G. A. Carlson (a3), A. Stringaris (a4), E. Leibenluft (a5) and D. N. Klein (a3) (a6)...



Despite the inclusion of disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD) in DSM-5, little empirical data exist on the disorder. We estimated rates, co-morbidity, correlates and early childhood predictors of DMDD in a community sample of 6-year-olds.


DMDD was assessed in 6-year-old children (n = 462) using a parent-reported structured clinical interview. Age 6 years correlates and age 3 years predictors were drawn from six domains: demographics; child psychopathology, functioning, and temperament; parental psychopathology; and the psychosocial environment.


The 3-month prevalence rate for DMDD was 8.2% (n = 38). DMDD occurred with an emotional or behavioral disorder in 60.5% of these children. At age 6 years, concurrent bivariate analyses revealed associations between DMDD and depression, oppositional defiant disorder, the Child Behavior Checklist – Dysregulation Profile, functional impairment, poorer peer functioning, child temperament (higher surgency and negative emotional intensity and lower effortful control), and lower parental support and marital satisfaction. The age 3 years predictors of DMDD at age 6 years included child attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, the Child Behavior Checklist – Dysregulation Profile, poorer peer functioning, child temperament (higher child surgency and negative emotional intensity and lower effortful control), parental lifetime substance use disorder and higher parental hostility.


A number of children met DSM-5 criteria for DMDD, and the diagnosis was associated with numerous concurrent and predictive indicators of emotional and behavioral dysregulation and poor functioning.


Corresponding author

* Address for correspondence: L. R. Dougherty, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA. (Email:


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