Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 30, Issue 4, pp 401–426 | Cite as

Course, Co-Occurrence, and Longitudinal Associations of Emotional Disturbance and Delinquency from Adolescence to Young Adulthood: A Six-Year Three-Wave Study

  • Geertjan Overbeek
  • Wilma Vollebergh
  • Wim Meeus
  • Rutger Engels
  • Eric Luijpers


Three questions were examined in this study: (a) What is the course of emotional disturbance and delinquency during adolescence and young adulthood? (b) To what extent do emotional disturbance and delinquency co-occur during adolescence and young adulthood? and (c) What are the longitudinal associations between emotional disturbance and delinquency in different age and gender categories during adolescence and young adulthood? Data were used from a national sample of 1,302 adolescents and young adults, who participated in a 6-year 3-wave longitudinal study. Findings showed an increase of emotional disturbance and delinquency from early to midadolescence, after which emotional disturbance stabilized and delinquency declined into young adulthood. A significant but relatively weak co-occurrence of emotional disturbance and delinquency was found. Multigroup LISREL analyses demonstrated that a stability model with no cross-lagged relations fit best for the total sample, and across age and gender categories. Thus, co-occurrence of emotional disturbance and delinquency during adolescence and young adulthood seems to result from associated but separate psychopathological processes. The strong stability of internalizing and externalizing behavior suggests that prevention efforts should be aimed at children and young adolescents.


Young Adult Longitudinal Study Total Sample Young Adulthood Prevention Effort 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Geertjan Overbeek
    • 1
  • Wilma Vollebergh
    • 2
    • 3
  • Wim Meeus
    • 4
  • Rutger Engels
    • 5
  • Eric Luijpers
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of Child and Adolescent StudiesUtrecht UniverstyThe NetherlandS
  2. 2.Research program, Psychiatric Epidemiology, Trimbos InstituteThe Netherlands Institute of Mental Health and AddictionThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Katholic UniversityNigmegen (KUN)
  4. 4.Department of Child and Adolescent StudiesUtrecht UniversityThe Netherlands
  5. 5.Department of Child and Adolescent StudiesUtrecht UniversityThe Netherlands
  6. 6.The Netherlands Institute of Health Promotion and Disease PreventionUtrechtThe Netherlands

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