Joining the pieces in childhood irritability: Distinct typologies predict conduct, depressive, and anxiety symptoms

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Elvin, Olivia M
Modecki, Kathryn L
Finch, Jules
Donnolley, Kylie
Farrell, Lara J
Waters, Allison M
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2020
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Abstract

This study utilised a person-centered approach to understand childhood irritability as a transdiagnostic feature of psychopathology. Latent profile analysis was employed within a community sample (n = 93) of 9-11 year olds to identify typologies of self-regulation capabilities, positive wellbeing characteristics of hope and flourishing, and social functioning that cluster with children's irritability to mitigate risk for psychopathology symptoms. Three distinct profiles of youth were derived, High Irritability/Low Self-Regulation of Negative Emotion (9%), Moderate Irritability/Low Behavioural Control (34%) and Low Irritability/High Positive Wellbeing Characteristics (57%). Profiles were empirically validated and differentially related to symptoms of anxiety, depression and conduct problems. Notably, High Irritability/Low Self-Regulation of Negative Emotion children were characterised by the highest levels of irritability and peer problems and the lowest self-regulation of negative emotion, prosocial behaviours, hope and flourishing relative to children within the other profiles, pointing to the potential utility of future targeted, transdiagnostic interventions. Within our community-based sample, a protective profile of Low Irritability/High Positive Wellbeing Characteristics children were also described by the lowest levels of irritability and peer problems and the highest positive and negative emotion self-regulation, behavioural control, prosocial behaviours, hope and flourishing. Findings demonstrate that different levels of irritability severity cluster with different self-regulation capabilities and wellbeing characteristics and predict risk for different types of psychopathology. Targeted interventions should seek to address children's irritability alongside self-regulation and positive wellbeing characteristics to further mitigate risks of psychopathology and associated problems.

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Behaviour Research and Therapy
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Psychology
Cognitive and computational psychology
Clinical and health psychology
Social and personality psychology
Children
Irritability
Latent profile analysis
Positive wellbeing
Psychopathology
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Elvin, OM; Modecki, KL; Finch, J; Donnolley, K; Farrell, LJ; Waters, AM, Joining the pieces in childhood irritability: Distinct typologies predict conduct, depressive, and anxiety symptoms, Behaviour Research and Therapy, 2020, 136, pp. 103779
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