Mild Traumatic Brain Injury as a Unique Predictor of Membership in Latent Classes of Child and Adolescent Delinquency and Psychopathology: Evidence from a Large Sample of U.S. Youth



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Psychopathology is common amongst children and adolescents. Data from representative samples of youth show that youth demonstrate a wide variety of symptoms during childhood and adolescence. Also common during this life course period is mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). Mild traumatic brain injury is a developing public health problem. A growing body of evidence suggests that head injury is associated with the onset of a range of internalizing and externalizing psychopathologies. The current study analyzed a large sample of children and adolescents from the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods (N = 3,008) to examine trajectories of psychopathologies. Using data from the Achenbach Childhood Behavior Checklist, growth trajectories of internalizing and externalizing psychopathology were identified between two waves of data collection. Multinomial logistic regression models were used to examine if mTBI acted as a unique predictor of class membership, while controlling for a number of variables associated with psychopathology. Results from latent class analysis identified four classes of Aggression, five classes of anxiety/depression, five classes of attention problems, three classes of delinquent behavior, and two classes of somatic symptoms. Mild traumatic brain injury was found to be a unique predictor of aggressive, anxiety/depression, and delinquent class membership, thus suggesting it is a transdiagnostic risk factor associated with general psychopathology.



Mild traumatic brain injury, Internalizing psychopathology, Externalizing psychopathology, Delinquency, Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods, Childhood Behavior Checklist