The Zurich Project on Social Development from Childhood to Adulthood (z-proso) began in 2004 in response to the need for a better evidence base to support optimal child social development and prevent crime and violence. Since then, the study has tracked the development of a diverse sample of youths (N = 1,675 in the target sample; ~50% female) from age 7 (n = 1,360) to age 20 (n = 1,180), with primary data collection waves at ages 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15, 17, and 20. The study uses a multi-method, multi-informant design that combines teacher, youth, and parent reports with observational and behavioural measures, biosampling, functional imaging, and ecological momentary assessment. Analyses of the data have contributed important evidence to a diversity of topics in child and adolescent development, illuminating the developmental roots of crime and aggression, the impacts of exposure to different forms and combinations of victimisation, and trajectories of mental health and neurodevelopmental symptoms.
Background and Objectives: Obtaining a multi-informant perspective is important when assessing psychopathology in childhood and adolescence. Obtaining ratings from both parents and teachers also facilitates the evaluation of similarities and contrasts in the nature and severity of symptoms across home and school contexts. However, these informants may differ in their interpretations of observed behaviours, raising questions about the validity of comparing parents’ and teachers’ ratings. Methods: We evaluated the cross-informant measurement invariance of one of the most widely used measures of child and adolescent psychopathology: The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ). Using data from the UK-population representative Millennium Cohort Study we evaluated configural, metric, and scalar invariance across parents and teachers at ages 7 (n=10,221) and 11 (n=10,543). Results: Scalar invariance held at both ages. Parents reported higher levels of symptoms in all domains measured at age 11 but higher prosociality. At age 7, parents reported higher levels of symptoms in some domains (conduct problems, hyperactivity/impulsivity), lower levels of symptoms in others (emotional problems, peer problems) and higher levels of prosociality.Conclusions: For a UK sample, valid comparisons of parent and teacher SDQ ratings at ages 7 and 11 appear to be possible, facilitating the evaluation of contextual differences in psychopathology expression.
A previous study by Murray et al. (2018) designed and validated a multi-item instrument for the assessment of violent ideations, the “Violent Ideations Scale” (VIS) in a sample of older Swiss adolescents (n=1276) who were part of the z-proso study. However, the final 12-item scale contained no items relating to sexual violence. The current study explores an expansion of the original VIS to include further items related to the ideation of sexual violence and seeks to investigate the psychometric properties of this new version: the Violent Ideations Scale-Expanded (VIS-X). The VIS-X was completed by participants in the latest wave of the z-proso study. The sample consisted of 1177 participants (597 females and 580 males), aged 19 to 22. Exploratory factor analysis was conducted in a calibration sample and confirmatory factor analysis in a validation sample to evaluate dimensionality resulting in two subscales: one containing items related to general violent ideations (VIS-X-Gen) and one related to violent sexual ideations (VIS-X-Sex). Cronbach’s Alpha ( =.96 for both subscales) and Composite Reliability (CR = .90 for the VIS-X-Gen subscale and .80 for the VIS-X-Sex subscale) indicated good reliability values. A multi-group confirmatory factor analysis revealed that measurement invariance held across genders. A Nomological analysis showed significant positive relationships with relevant constructs of low self-control, bullying, intimate partner violence and consumption of problematic media content. The results support the use of the VIS-X in measuring sexual violent ideations alongside other forms of violent ideations.
Complex sampling designs involving features such as stratification, cluster sampling, and unequal selection probabilities are often used in large-scale longitudinal surveys to improve cost-effectiveness and ensure adequate sampling of small or under-represented groups. However, complex sampling designs create challenges when there is a need to account for non-random attrition; a near inevitability in social science longitudinal studies. In this article we discuss these challenges and demonstrate the application of weighting approaches to simultaneously account for non-random attrition and complex design in a large UK-population representative survey. Using an auto-regressive latent trajectory model with structured residuals (ALT-SR) to model the relations between relationship satisfaction and mental health in the Understanding Society study as an example, we provide guidance on implementation of this approach in both R and Mplus is provided. Two standard error estimation approaches are illustrated: pseudo-maximum likelihood robust estimation and Bootstrap resampling. A comparison of unadjusted and design-adjusted results also highlights that ignoring the complex survey designs when fitting structural equation models can result in misleading conclusions.
Mental disorders are highly prevalent, and among the leading causes of global disease burden. To respond in a timely and effective manner, a strong understanding of the structure of psychopathology and its development is critical. We compared the ability of two competing frameworks, the dynamic mutualism theory and the common cause theory, to explain the development of individual differences in psychopathology. We formalized these theories into statistical models, and applied them to two domains of psychopathology, at two different developmental periods, using two large developmental cohorts: the p factor (i.e. general psychopathology) from early to late adolescence (N = 1,482), and major depressive disorder in middle adulthood and old age (N = 6,443). The development of the p factor was better explained by a mutualistic account. In contrast, the evidence for the development of major depression was more ambiguous. Our results support a multicausal approach to understanding psychopathology and showcase the value of translating theories into testable statistical models for understanding developmental processes in clinical sciences.
Measures that produce valid and reliable antenatal depressive symptom scores in low resource country contexts are important for research efforts to better understand risk factors, outcomes, and effective interventions in these contexts. Establishing the psychometric comparability of scores across countries also facilitates cross-country analysis of similarities and differences across contexts. To date, however, very few studies have evaluated the psychometric properties and comparability of widely used antenatal depressive symptom measures across diverse cultural, political and social contexts. To address this gap, we used data from the Evidence for Better Lives Study – Foundational Research (EBLS-FR) to examine the reliability, validity, and cross-country invariance of the 9-item version of the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) in antenatal samples across eight low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). We found that the PHQ-9 scores had good internal consistency and construct validity across all eight countries. However, in measurement invariance analyses, only partial metric invariance held and only across four of the countries. Further, there were some notable between-site contrasts in the nomological networks of PHQ-9 scores. Our results suggest that the PHQ-9 yields reliable scores when administered in antenatal populations; however, the meaning of the scores varies by country. Thus, interpretation of PHQ scores should consider local meanings of depression to ensure that local conceptualisations and manifestations of antenatal depressive symptoms are adequately reflected.
In the last decade, measurements of the tidal exchange of inorganic and organic materials, and their extrapolation for the calculation of annual budgets, have played an important role in assessing the ecological functioning and sedimentary status of coastal wetlands. Flux measurements, and their application to longer sequences of tidal flooding, for a n enclosed back-barrier salt marsh in Norfolk, England, show how net import/export characteristics for a range of materials (total suspended sediment, inorganic suspended sediment, particulate organic carbon and dissolved organic carbon), and thus the interpretation of wetland function, are strongly dependent upon the method of budgetary calculation. Annual budgets should be evaluated in a broader context which explores differing comblnations of flooding regime, sedtment supply and surface accrrtion, and vegetation production and decay.
No clear answer has yet been attained as to the influence of prenatal exposure to infection on autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), either alone or as co-occurring issues. We examined links between hospital-recorded and maternal-reported prenatal infections and ASD, ADHD and co-occurring ASD and ADHD in a large population-representative UK sample. Significant associations between maternal-reported infections and ASD, ADHD and co-occurring ASD and ADHD were found, but no significant associations were found with hospital-recorded infections. Agreement between hospital-recorded and maternal-reported infections was low, which may explain the discrepant findings. Results point to the importance of drawing on multiple sources of information when determining whether or not a prenatal infection is present.
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