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Depressive symptoms show different trajectories throughout childhood and adolescence that may have different consequences for adult outcomes.
To examine trajectories of childhood depressive symptoms and their association with education and employment outcomes in early adulthood.
We estimated latent trajectory classes from participants with repeated measures of self-reported depressive symptoms between 11 and 24 years of age and examined their association with two distal outcomes: university degree and those not in employment, education or training at age 24.
Our main analyses (n = 9399) yielded five heterogenous trajectories of depressive symptoms. The largest group found (70.5% of participants) had a stable trajectory of low depressive symptoms (stable–low). The other four groups had symptom profiles that reached full-threshold levels at different developmental stages and for different durations. We identified the following groups: childhood–limited (5.1% of participants) with full-threshold symptoms at ages 11–13; childhood–persistent (3.5%) with full-threshold symptoms at ages 13–24; adolescent onset (9.4%) with full-threshold symptoms at ages 17–19; and early-adult onset (11.6%) with full-threshold symptoms at ages 22–24. Relative to the majority ‘stable–low’ group, the other four groups all exhibited higher risks of one or both adult outcomes.
Accurate identification of depressive symptom trajectories requires data spanning the period from early adolescence to early adulthood. Consideration of changes in, as well as levels of, depressive symptoms could improve the targeting of preventative interventions in early-to-mid adolescence.
High levels of attentional and hyperactivity problems in school-aged children, even if subthreshold for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), are associated with academic under-achievement. Few large-scale, community-based studies have investigated the relationship between pre-school and adolescence.
To investigate whether pre-school hyperactivity/inattention and conduct problems are independently associated with academic outcomes at age 16.
Data from the prospective, population-based Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) were used. After adjusting for a broad range of confounder variables, the associations between parent-rated hyperactivity/inattention and conduct problems measured at age 3 and academic outcomes at age 16 (national General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) examination results) were investigated (n = 11640).
Both early hyperactivity/inattention and conduct problems had negative effects on academic outcomes. In adjusted analyses, abnormal hyperactivity/inattention scores were associated with reductions of ten GCSE points in boys. Borderline and abnormal conduct problem scores were associated with reductions of 9–10 and 12–15 points respectively.
Pre-school hyperactivity/inattention and conduct problems carry risk of worse academic outcomes at 16.
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