, Volume 26, Issue 3, pp 321-338

“Comorbidity” of behavioral, emotional, and cognitive problems in adolescence

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The purpose of this study was to examine in a sample of 11,516 secondary school students the extent to which different behavioral, emotional and cognitive problems (a) reflected one or more underlying common factors; (b) “ actually” cooccurred; and (c) were “single” problems. Principal Component Analyses were performed and percentagewise techniques were used. PCA demonstrated that one or more “general syndromes” could not by far account for all of the variance of the variables. The results suggest the existence of adolescent “ subgroups” with divergent comorbidity patterns: those who primarily report one “single” symptom; those who report concurrent symptoms either exclusively in the category of behavioral problems or exclusively in the category of emotional and cognitive problems; and those who report concurrent symptoms in both categories. This distinction between different subgroups has important theoretical, diagnostic, and treatment implications.