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16-10-2021 | Original Article Open Access

Comorbidity Between Internalising and Externalising Disorders Among Adolescents: Symptom Connectivity Features and Psychosocial Outcome

Child Psychiatry & Human Development
Cecilia A. Essau, Alejandro de la Torre-Luque
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Supplementary Information

The online version contains supplementary material available at https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s10578-021-01264-w.

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Internalising disorders are highly prevalent conditions in adolescence and tend to co-occur with externalising disorders. The present study used a symptom network approach to examine the interplay between symptoms of internalising disorders among adolescents with comorbid internalising and externalising disorders. Data comes from the National Comorbidity Survey—Adolescent Supplement, a nationally representative survey of adolescents aged 13 to 18 years. The most central symptoms across the disorders in the network were poor self-esteem and worry. The comorbidity between anxiety and depression increases the probability of having comorbid externalising disorders. Adolescents with both internalising and externalising disorders had the highest rate of health service utilisation. Comorbidity group, lifestyle factors, deficits in cognitive and academic competence and coping skills were significant covariates of the mental health outcomes. Understanding comorbidity profile of internalising and externalising disorders and central symptoms that bridge these disorders could have important clinical implications.

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