Within-person analysis of developmental cascades between externalising and internalising problems

Aja Louise Murray, Manuel P Eisner, Denis Ribeaud

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Background: In a large body of previous research, cross-lagged panel models (CLPMs) have been used to provide empirical support for developmental models that posit a cascade from externalising to internalising problems. These developmental models, however, arguably refer to within-person processes whereas CLPMs provide a difficult-to-interpret blend of within- and between- person effects.
Methods: We used autoregressive latent trajectory models with structured residuals (ALT-SR) to evaluate whether there is evidence for externalising to internalising cascades at the within-person level when disaggregating between- and within- person effects. We used 8 waves of data (age 7 to 15) from the Zurich Project on Social Development from Childhood to Adulthood (z-proso).
Results: ALT-SRs fit better than the corresponding CLPMs. Using an ALT-SR model, we found evidence for externalising-to-internalising cascades, consistent with previous CLPM studies. However, we also found some evidence for effects in the ALT-SR that were not apparent in the CLPM, including a negative effect of externalising on internalising problems in adolescence. In addition, a negative effect of internalising on externalising problems in adolescence was found in both the CLPM and ALT-SR. 
Conclusions: Within-person results were largely consistent with previous evidence from CLPMs; however, at the within-person level, externalising and internalising may negatively influence one another in adolescence.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry
Early online date2 Nov 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Nov 2019

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • externalising disorder
  • internalising disorder
  • comorbidity
  • developmental psychopathology
  • longitudinal studies


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