Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp 53-66

First online:

A nationwide study of developmental and gender prevalence for psychopathology in childhood and adolescence

  • Paul A. McDermottAffiliated withGraduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania

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Psychopathology was assessed through standardized observations by teachers of 1,400 youths 5 through 17 years old comprising the national norm sample of the Adjustment Scales for Children and Adolescents. The sample was stratified according to the U.S. population by age, sex, ethnicity, parent education, family structure, national region, community size, and handicapping condition. The maladjusted portion of the sample for each of six specific syndromes was examined for departures from expected developmental and gender prevalence. Males outnumbered females for most types of maladjustment, including attention-deficit hyperactive, both provocative and impulsive forms of solitary aggressive, oppositional defiant, and avoidant disorders. Also revealed were general patterns of reduced behavior excess and increased avoidant behavior with advancing age.