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September 2015

Why Are Children Who Exhibit Psychopathology at High Risk for Psychopathology and Dysfunction in Adulthood?

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
JAMA Psychiatry. 2015;72(9):865-866. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2015.0798

There is now strong and often replicated evidence from prospective longitudinal studies that psychopathology in childhood and adolescence robustly predicts psychopathology in adulthood.1-4 This evidence suggests a degree of specificity over time, such as childhood conduct disorder predicting adult antisocial personality, but also a considerable degree of heterotypic continuity. That is, one disorder in childhood often predicts other disorders in adulthood. In particular, childhood conduct disorder5 and oppositional defiant disorder nonspecifically predict a broad range of mental disorders in adulthood.6