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Children with congenital heart disease and their families are at risk of psychosocial problems. Emotional and behavioural problems, impaired school functioning, and reduced exercise capacity often occur. To prevent and decrease these problems, we modified and extended the previously established Congenital Heart Disease Intervention Program (CHIP)–School, thereby creating CHIP-Family. CHIP-Family is the first psychosocial intervention with a module for children with congenital heart disease. Through a randomised controlled trial, we examined the effectiveness of CHIP-Family.
Ninety-three children with congenital heart disease (age M = 5.34 years, SD = 1.27) were randomised to CHIP-Family (n = 49) or care as usual (no psychosocial care; n = 44). CHIP-Family consisted of a 1-day group workshop for parents, children, and siblings and an individual follow-up session for parents. CHIP-Family was delivered by psychologists, paediatric cardiologists, and physiotherapists. At baseline and 6-month follow-up, mothers, fathers, teachers, and the child completed questionnaires to assess psychosocial problems, school functioning, and sports enjoyment. Moreover, at 6-month follow-up, parents completed program satisfaction assessments.
Although small improvements in child outcomes were observed in the CHIP-Family group, no statistically significant differences were found between outcomes of the CHIP-Family and care-as-usual group. Mean parent satisfaction ratings ranged from 7.4 to 8.1 (range 0–10).
CHIP-Family yielded high program acceptability ratings. However, compared to care as usual, CHIP-Family did not find the same extent of statistically significant outcomes as CHIP-School. Replication of promising psychological interventions, and examination of when different outcomes are found, is recommended for refining interventions in the future.
Attention Bias Modification (ABM) targets attention bias (AB) towards threat, which is common in youth with anxiety disorders. Previous clinical trials showed inconsistent results regarding the efficacy of ABM, and few studies have examined the effect of online ABM and its augmented effect with cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). The aim of the current study was to examine the efficacy of online ABM combined with CBT for children and adolescents with anxiety disorders in a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Children (aged 8–16 years) completed nine online sessions of ABM (n = 28) or online sessions of the Attention Control Condition (ACC; n = 27) over a period of 3 weeks (modified dot-probe task with anxiety disorder-congruent stimuli), followed by CBT. Primary outcomes were clinician-reported anxiety disorder status. Secondary outcomes were patient-reported anxiety and depression symptoms and AB. Results showed a continuous decrease across time in primary and secondary outcomes (ps < .001). However, no differences across time between the ABM and ACC group were found (ps > .50). Baseline AB and age did not moderate treatment effects. Online ABM combined with CBT does not show different efficacy compared with online ACC with CBT for children and adolescents with anxiety disorders.
Internalizing and externalizing problems are associated with poor academic performance, both concurrently and longitudinally. Important questions are whether problems precede academic performance or vice versa, whether both internalizing and externalizing are associated with academic problems when simultaneously tested, and whether associations and their direction depend on the informant providing information. These questions were addressed in a sample of 816 children who were assessed four times. The children were 6–10 years at baseline and 14–18 years at the last assessment. Parent-reported internalizing and externalizing problems and teacher-reported academic performance were tested in cross-lagged models to examine bidirectional paths between these constructs. These models were compared with cross-lagged models testing paths between teacher-reported internalizing and externalizing problems and parent-reported academic performance. Both final models revealed similar pathways from mostly externalizing problems to academic performance. No paths emerged from internalizing problems to academic performance. Moreover, paths from academic performance to internalizing and externalizing problems were only found when teachers reported on children's problems and not for parent-reported problems. Additional model tests revealed that paths were observed in both childhood and adolescence. Externalizing problems place children at increased risk of poor academic performance and should therefore be the target for interventions.
Research on twin-singleton differences in externalizing and internalizing problems in childhood is largely cross-sectional and yields contrasting results. The goal of this study was to compare developmental trajectories of externalizing and internalizing problems in 6- to 12-year-old twins and singletons. Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) maternal reports of externalizing and internalizing problems were obtained for a sample of 9651 twins from the Netherlands Twin Register and for a representative general population sample of 1351 singletons. Latent growth modeling was applied to estimate growth curves for twins and singletons. Twin-singleton differences in the intercepts and slopes of the growth curves were examined. The developmental trajectories of externalizing problems showed a linear decrease over time, and were not significantly different for twins and singletons. Internalizing problems seem to develop similarly for twins and singletons up to age 9. After this age twins' internalizing symptoms start to decrease in comparison to those of singletons, resulting in less internalizing problems than singletons by the age of 12 years. Our findings confirm the generalizability of twin studies to singleton populations with regard to externalizing problems in middle and late childhood. The generalizability of studies on internalizing problems in early adolescence in twin samples should be addressed with care. Twinship may be a protective factor in the development of internalizing problems during early adolescence.
To obtain a better understanding of how genetic and environmental processes are involved in the stability and change in problem behavior from early adolescence into adulthood, studies with genetically informative samples are important. The present study used parent-reported data on internalizing and externalizing problem behavior of adoptees at mean ages 12.4, 15.5 and 26.3. In this adoption study adopted biologically related sibling pairs shared on average 50% of their genes and were brought up in the same family environment, whereas adopted biologically unrelated sibling pairs only shared their family environment. The resemblance between these adopted biologically related (N = 106) and unrelated sibling pairs (N = 230) was compared and examined over time. We aimed to investigate (1) to what extent are internalizing and externalizing problem behavior stable from early adolescence into adulthood, and (2) whether the same or different genetic and environmental factors affect these problem behaviors at the 3 assessments. Our results show that both internalizing (rs ranging from .34 to .58) and externalizing behavior (rs ranging from .47 to .69) were rather stable over time. For internalizing and externalizing problem behavior it was found that both genetic and shared environmental influences could be modeled by an underlying common factor, which explained variance in problem behavior from early adolescence into adulthood and accounted for stability over time. The nonshared environmental influences were best modeled by a Cholesky decomposition for internalizing behavior, whereas a time-specific influence of the nonshared environment was included in the final model of externalizing behavior.
Knowledge of the course of psychopathology from adolescence into adulthood is needed to answer questions concerning origins and prognosis of psychopathology across a wide age range.
To investigate the 10-year course and predictive value of self-reported problems in adolescence in relation to psychopathology in adulthood.
Subjects from the general population, aged 11–19 years, were assessed with the Youth Self-Report (YSR) at initial assessment, and with the Young Adult Self-Report (YASR), the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI) and three sections of the Diagnostic Interview Schedule (DIS) 10 years later.
Of the subjects with deviant YSR total problem scores, 23% (males) and 22% (females) had deviant YASR total problem scores at follow-up. Subjects with initial deviant YSR total problem, internalising and externalising scores had higher prevalences of DSM–IV diagnoses at follow-up.
Adolescent problems tended to persist into adulthood to a moderate degree. High rates of problems during adolescence are risk factors for psychiatric disorders in adulthood.
For children referred to mental health services future functioning may be hampered.
To examine stability and prediction of behavioural and emotional problems from childhood into adulthood.
A referred sample (n=789) aged 4–18 years was followed up after a mean of 10.5 years. Scores derived from the Child Behavior Checklist, Youth Self-Report and Teacher Report Form were related to equivalent scores for young adults from the Young Adult Self-Report and Young Adult Behavior Checklist.
Correlations between first contact (T1) and follow-up (T2) scores were 0.12–0.53. Young adult psychopathology was predicted by corresponding TI problem scores. Social problems and anxious/depressed scores were predictors of general problem behaviour.
Problem behaviour of children and adolescents referred to outpatient mental health services is highly predictive of similar problem behaviour at young adulthood. Stability is higher for externalising than for internalising behaviour and for intra-informant than for inter-informant information. Stabilities are similar across gender. To obtain a comprehensive picture of the young adult's functioning, information from related adults may prove valuable.
This study investigated the stability and change in teacher-reported problem behaviours across a four-year period. An epidemiological sample of 811 children aged 4–12 at the initial assessment was assessed twice with the Achenbach Teacher Report Form (TRF). We found medium stability in the level of TRF total problem scores. Highest stability was found for aggressive and other externalizing behaviours. Stability was higher for girls than for boys. Of the girls who could be regarded as disturbed at base line, 50% could still be so regarded four years later, whereas only 23% of the boys could be considered persistently disturbed across the study interval. Girls' scores on the Externalizing syndrome were especially stable.
A psychometric study on Swedish and Dutch samples used the EMBU, a self-report instrument designed to assess memories of parents' rearing behaviour. Of the four primary factors identified previously with Dutch individuals (Rejection, Emotional Warmth, Over-protection, and Favouring Subject), the first three were retrieved in a similar form in the two Swedish groups (depressives and healthy, non-patients). Examination of the metric equivalence of the scales and the strength of the factors for each group indicated that comparisons of patterns and levels between groups from the respective countries on the three factors showing cross-national constancy would be warranted. Scale-level factor analyses of these dimensions produced identical two-factor compositions (CARE and PROTECTION) across national groups which further supported this conclusion.
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