Mental health outcomes of developmental coordination disorder in late adolescence.


Aim: To assess the relationship between developmental coordination disorder (DCD) and mental health outcomes in late adolescence. Method: Data were analyzed from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children. Moderate-to-severe DCD was defined at 7 to 8 years according to the DSM-IV-TR criteria. Mental health was assessed at 16 to 18 years using self-reported questionnaires: Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire, Short Moods and Feelings Questionnaire, and the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale. Logistic and linear regressions assessed the associations between DCD and mental health, using multiple imputation to account for missing data. Adjustments were made for socio-economic status, IQ, and social communication difficulties. Results: Adolescents with DCD (n = 168) had an increased risk of mental health difficulties (total Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire score) than their peers (n = 3750) (odds ratio 1.78, 95% confidence interval 1.12-2.83, adjusted for socio-economic status and IQ). This was, in part, mediated through poor social communication skills. Adolescent females with DCD (n = 59) were more prone to mental health difficulties than males. Greater mental well-being was associated with better self-esteem (beta 0.82, p < 0.001). Interpretation: Individuals with DCD, particularly females, had increased risk of mental health difficulties in late adolescence. Interventions that aim to promote resilience in DCD should involve improving social communication skills and self-esteem.