Profiling depression in childhood and adolescence: The role of conduct problems.


Background: Depression is typically more common in females and rates rise around puberty. However, studies of children and adolescents suggest that depression accompanied by conduct problems may represent a different subtype not characterised by a female preponderance, with differing risk factors and genetic architecture compared to pure-depression. This study aimed to identify aetiologically distinct profiles of depressive symptoms, distinguished by the presence or absence of co-occurring conduct problems. Methods: Latent profile analysis was conducted on a school sample of 1648 children (11-12 years) and replicated in a sample of 2006 twins (8-17 years). Results: In both samples pure-depressive and conduct-depressive profiles were identified. The pure-depressive profile was associated with female gender, while the conduct-depressive profile was associated with lower cognitive ability but not with gender. Twin analyses indicated possible differences in genetic aetiology. Conclusions: There was evidence for aetiologically heterogeneous depression symptom profiles based on the presence or absence of co-occurring conduct problems.