Latent profiles of externalizing psychopathology and their relation to children’s aggression and social behavior.


Objective: This study identified profiles of clinic-referred children with disruptive behavior and determined the association between identified profiles and children’s aggression, peer problems, and prosocial skills. Method: Parents and teachers of 208 children (163 boys) aged 6 to 12 years (Mage = 8.80, SD = 1.75) completed measures to assess children’s callous-unemotional (CU) traits, inattentive-impulsive-overactive (IO) and oppositional-defiant (OD) behavior, aggression, and social behaviors. Latent class analysis was used to identify the profiles, and the pseudoclass draw method to test the equality of means for each of the aggression and social behavioral outcomes across the latent classes. Results: Five profiles were identified: (1) Low (35.6% of children), with relatively low levels of CU traits and IO and OD behavior; (2) Low-Moderate (30.8%), with low-moderate levels of CU traits, low IO and moderate OD behavior; (3) Moderate (21.6%), with moderate levels of CU traits and IO and moderate-high OD behavior; (4) Moderate-High (7.2%), with moderate-high levels of CU traits, high IO and moderate-high OD behavior; and (5) High (4.8%), with high levels of CU traits, IO and OD behavior. Conclusion: Children categorized into profiles showed important differences in level of aggression and social behavior. The overlap between CU traits, IO, and OD behavior add to understanding of child psychopathology that influences behavior and clinical outcomes.