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Adult mood problems in children with neurodevelopmental problems: evidence from a prospective birth cohort followed to age 50

Addicoat, Alishia, Thapar, Ajay ORCID:, Riglin, Lucy, Thapar, Anita ORCID: and Collishaw, Stephan ORCID: 2020. Adult mood problems in children with neurodevelopmental problems: evidence from a prospective birth cohort followed to age 50. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology 55 , pp. 351-358. 10.1007/s00127-019-01727-5

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Purpose Specific child neurodevelopmental (ND) disorders such as ADHD and learning problems are associated with concurrent and future (up to early adulthood) mood problems. However, it is unclear whether findings generalise to population traits as well as diagnoses, to general as well as specific neurodevelopmental domains, and whether risk associations extend to later adulthood or diminish with age. Methods We used data from a UK cohort of children born in 1958, the National Child Development Study (NCDS). ND problems were assessed at ages 7 and 11 years with parent- and teacher ratings of restlessness, hyperactivity and motor co-ordination difficulties, and by individual tests of reading, arithmetic and general cognitive ability. Mood (depression/anxiety) problems were assessed using the Malaise symptom screen at 23, 33, 42, and 50 years. Factor analyses were conducted to assess whether the specific neurodevelopmental domains could be aggregated into a general “ND” latent factor as well as specific factors. Associations with mood outcomes were then tested. Results A bi-factor model with a general “ND” latent factor and specific “motor” and “cognition” factors fits the data well. The specific cognition and motor factor scores were associated with mood problems in early adulthood only. The “ND” factor demonstrated associations with mood problems at each adult follow-up (men - age 23 years: β = 0.17; age 33: β = 0.16; age 42: β = 0.14; age 50: β = 0.16; women - 23 years: β = 0.25; 33 years: β = 0.26; 42 years: β = 0.14; 50 years: β = 0.16; all ps < 0.01). Interactions by sex indicated that the association between this general factor and mood problems was more pronounced for women than men at ages 23 years (β = 0.09, p = 0.005) and 33 years (β = 0.10, p = 0.003), but not at 42 or 50 years (ps > 0.8). Conclusions Our results suggest that, in a population-based cohort, a general, childhood neurodevelopmental difficulty factor is stably associated with mood problems in adult life.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics (CNGG)
Publisher: Springer Verlag
ISSN: 0933-7954
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 9 May 2019
Date of Acceptance: 13 May 2019
Last Modified: 06 May 2023 23:27

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