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01-06-2012 | Original Paper | Uitgave 3/2012

Journal of Child and Family Studies 3/2012

Latent Classes of Psychiatric Symptoms Among Chinese Children Living in Poverty

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 3/2012
Keith C. Herman, Yu Bi, Lindsay A. Borden, Wendy M. Reinke


Describing co-occurring symptom patterns among children in nonwestern contexts may have important implications for how emotional and behavior problems are defined, conceptualized, studied, and ultimately prevented. A latent profile analysis (LPA) was conducted on the co-occurring psychiatric symptoms of 196 Chinese children living in poverty. Child depression, anxiety, aggression, and self-esteem scores were used as indicators in the LPA. Three classes of symptoms best described the symptom presentations of children in this study. Ninety-one percent of the youth in the sample were assigned to a class without clinically significant elevations on any symptom index. Six percent fell into an externalizing class, and 3% were assigned to a class with elevated internalizing symptoms. The three classes met empirical criteria for distinctiveness and were validated against parent- and child-rated family characteristics and resources. Children in the externalizing class were more likely to experience harsh and neglectful parenting and their parents were more likely to report avoidant coping styles. In addition to some parenting behaviors (overprotection and low parental support), internalizing symptoms were uniquely associated with low levels of education, housing, economic, and social resources. Implications for preventive interventions are discussed.

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