Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Psychology


Clinical Psychology

Content Description

1 online resource (vii, 122 pages)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Leslie F Halpern

Committee Members

Hazel M Prelow, Elana Gordis


anxiety, child, externalizing, mood, risk, temperament, Adolescent psychopathology, Child psychopathology, Behavior disorders in children, Behavior disorders in adolescence

Subject Categories

Clinical Psychology


Several factors have been associated with psychiatric problems in children and adolescents. There is mounting evidence that intrinsic factors such as age, gender and temperament interact with environmental factors in ways that may result in psychopathology. Few studies have examined these factors together to determine how well they predict diagnostic category in a clinic-referred population. This study investigated the roles of three broad temperament dimensions--effortful control (EC), negative affectivity (NA) and positive affectivity (PA)--along with gender, age, and cumulative risk in the prediction of psychiatric diagnosis in children and adolescents. Psychopathology was examined categorically, across four categories as outlined in the DSM-IV-TR--Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Disruptive Behavior Disorders, Mood Disorders, and Anxiety Disorders. Data were collected from the medical records of 99 clinic-referred children and adolescents, ages 6-17.9 years. Analyses indicated that, contrary to previous findings, there was no relationship between gender and temperament factors or diagnostic category, or between age and temperament factors or diagnostic category. Further analyses reliably distinguished individuals with internalizing disorders (Anxiety and Mood Disorders) (characterized by high EC, moderate NA and low PA) from those with externalizing disorders (ADHD and Disruptive Behavior Disorders). Analyses also found that individuals with Disruptive Behavior Disorder (characterized by low NA, moderate EC and high cumulative risk) could be distinguished from individuals with ADHD. Individuals with Mood Disorders could not be reliably distinguished from those with Anxiety Disorders. Implications for research and treatment are explored.