Longitudinal Associations between Externalizing Problems and Depression in Children and Adolescents

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Title: Longitudinal Associations between Externalizing Problems and Depression in Children and Adolescents
Authors: Blain-Arcaro, Christine
Date: 2016
Abstract: Although researchers have often focused on the victims of aggression, the detrimental effects of engaging in aggression and/or displaying symptoms of externalizing disorders have been clearly identified in children and adolescents. Longstanding consequences of externalizing problems include internalizing difficulties such as depression. There is an increasing interest in identifying the direction of effect and understand whether externalizing problems precede internalizing problems, vice-versa, or whether they share a bi-directional relation. However, the study of the temporal sequence between aggression, externalizing disorders, and internalizing disorders in children and adolescents has yielded inconsistent findings. The sequential relation between externalizing and internalizing difficulties in children and adolescents was examined in this dissertation consisting of three studies. In Study 1, the moderating role of worry in the relation between aggression and depression was examined. The sample consisted of girls nominated as either relationally or physically aggressive by their peers. Results indicated that worry exacerbated the risk of reporting elevated depressive symptoms concurrently and one year later for physically aggressive girls. In Study 2, three competing hypotheses on the longitudinal relation between aggression and depression were compared. Findings from this study supported the hypothesis that symptoms of depression are preceded by aggressive behaviour. Additionally, it was found that engaging in physical aggression predicted depressive symptoms for girls but not for boys. The results of the first two studies suggest that for girls, engaging in non-normative forms of aggression is associated with greater mental health problems. In Study 3, the temporal relation between symptoms of externalizing disorders, namely oppositional defiant disorder and conduct disorder, and symptoms of depression was examined. Results provided support that the progressive relation between symptoms of externalizing and internalizing disorders was bi-directional. In summary, although it seems that engaging in externalizing behaviour, such as aggression, predicts symptoms of depression, findings from the third study suggest that the sequential relation between symptoms of externalizing problems, which may or may not include aggressive behaviour, and symptoms of depression seem to share a reciprocal relation.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/34603
http://dx.doi.org/10.20381/ruor-5762
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -
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