Objective: To determine continuities of mental health problems of children across a 24-year follow-up period.
Method: In 1983, parent ratings of emotional and behavioral problems were collected with the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) in a general population sample of 2076 children. Twenty-four years later, 1365 participants completed Adult Self-Reports (ASR) to assess emotional and behavioral problems.
Results: Of the participants who were classified as deviant in childhood, 22.2% were also classified as deviant in adulthood. Both homotypic and heterotypic continuity was found. Childhood aggressive, delinquent, and anxious/depressed problems were associated with most adult psychopathology. Attention problems did not predict later problems independently.
Conclusion: Even though assessed with parent-reports in childhood and analogous self-reports in adulthood, and over a large period of 24 years, continuity of psychopathology was found from childhood into adulthood. Anxious/depressed problems, delinquent behavior and aggressive behavior in childhood are core predictors for adult psychopathology.