The comorbidities of adolescent problem behaviors: a latent class model

J Abnorm Child Psychol. 1994 Jun;22(3):339-54. doi: 10.1007/BF02168078.


The correlations and comorbidities of a series of adolescent problem behaviors were studied in a sample of 739 New Zealand 15-year-olds. This analysis revealed the presence of strong comorbidities between different problem behaviors. The data were modeled using methods of unrestricted latent class analysis and this suggested that the best fitting model to describe the data was one which assumed that adolescent problem behaviors were described by four general classes of children. While the same general four-class model applied to males and females, there were marked gender differences in the rates of problems. Specifically, the predominant problem behaviors in females were those relating to an accelerated transition to adulthood marked by early sexual activity, alcohol abuse, and cannabis use whereas the predominant problems for boys were related to antisocial and law-breaking behaviors. Rates of children with no problems (85%) and with multiple problems (3%) were similar for boys and girls.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / classification*
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology
  • Alcoholism / complications
  • Alcoholism / psychology
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Juvenile Delinquency / psychology
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Marijuana Smoking / psychology
  • Models, Statistical*
  • New Zealand / epidemiology
  • Sex Factors
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Social Behavior Disorders / complications
  • Social Behavior Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Social Behavior Disorders / psychology