Background There is increasing evidence that youth who follow Early-Onset Persistent (EOP), Childhood-Limited (CL) and Adolescent-Onset (AO) trajectories of conduct problems (CP) show varying patterns of health and social outcomes in adulthood. However there has been no systematic review and meta-analysis on psychosocial outcomes associated with different CP trajectories.
Methods We systematically reviewed the literature of longitudinal studies considering outcomes of three CP trajectories: EOP, AO, CL compared with groups with low levels of aggression or control participants. We performed a series of meta-analyses comparing each trajectory group to low aggression or control groups for 8 different outcomes in early adulthood or later.
Results 13 studies met our inclusion criteria. Outcomes were mental health (depression), cannabis use, alcohol use, selfreported aggression, official records of antisocial behaviour, poor general health, poor education and poor employment. Overall, EOP individuals showed significant higher risk of poor outcome followed by AO individuals, CL individuals and finally control participants.
Conclusions All CP trajectories showed higher risk of poor psychosocial outcomes compared with control groups but the magnitude of risk differed across trajectories, with a general trend for EOP to perform significantly worse, followed by AO and CL. Early intervention is recommended across domains to maximise likelihood of desistance from antisocial behaviour and improvement on several psychosocial outcomes.
Abbreviations CP:Conduct problems; Conduct Disorder (CD); SDQ: Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire; DAWBA: Development and Well Being Assessment; EOP: Early-Onset Persistent; AO: Adolescent-Onset; AL: Adolescence-Limited; CL: Childhood-Limited; ASB: Antisocial Behaviour; CBCL: Child Behaviour Checklist
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