Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 35, Issue 5, pp 801–816 | Cite as

Racial/Ethnic Differences in Internalizing and Externalizing Symptoms in Adolescents

  • Katie A. McLaughlin
  • Lori M. Hilt
  • Susan Nolen-Hoeksema


The prevalence of most adult psychiatric disorders varies across racial/ethnic groups and has important implications for prevention and intervention efforts. Research on racial/ethnic differences in the prevalence of internalizing and externalizing symptoms and disorders in adolescents has been less consistent or generally lacking. The current study examined the prevalence of these symptom groups in a large sample of sixth, seventh, and eighth graders in which the three major racial/ethnic groups in the U.S. (White, Black, and Hispanic/Latino) were well-represented. Hispanic females reported experiencing higher levels of depression, anxiety, and reputational aggression than other groups. Black males reported the highest levels of overtly aggressive behavior and also reported higher levels of physiologic anxiety and disordered eating than males from other racial/ethnic groups. Hispanic females also exhibited higher levels of comorbidity than other racial/ethnic groups.


Racial/ethnic differences Adolescence Anxiety Depression Eating pathology Aggression 



The writing of this article was supported in part by a grant from the Yale Institute for Social and Policy Studies awarded to Susan Nolen-Hoeksema. We would like to thank Sean Bland, Elizabeth Chereji, Erica Newland, and Margaret Scotti for their invaluable help on this project.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katie A. McLaughlin
    • 1
  • Lori M. Hilt
    • 1
  • Susan Nolen-Hoeksema
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyYale UniversityNew HavenUSA

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