Clinical Psychology 8 (2015), 1, 63-80

Original scientific paper

A Dimensional Taxonomy of Behavioral Problems and Emotional Difficulties in Three-Year Olds

David Gosar - Division of Pediatrics, University Medical Center Ljubljana, Slovenia
Rok Holnthaner - Dr. Adolf Drolc Health Center, Maribor, Slovenia
Peter Praper - Institute for Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Fulltext (english, pages 63-80).pdf

In light of the controversy regarding the diagnostic classification and epidemiology of preschool psychiatric disorders, more research into the taxonomy of preschool psychopathology seems warranted. In Slovenia the signs and symptoms of preschool psychopathology are screened for in the population using the Psychological Screening Survey of Three-year olds (SPP-3). The current study aimed to establish a taxonomy of behavioral problems and emotional difficulties obtained via the SPP-3 and document its concurrent validity in regard to the Achenbach Child Behavior Checklist, an internationally well-established measure of child psychopathology. Data from over 26000 children was used for exploratory and confirmatory structural equation modeling, while data from 212 children was used to establish concurrent validity with the CBCL. An eight-factor confirmatory model provided the best fit to the data (RMSEA = 0.023, CFI = 0.951) and included the dimensions of Internalizing Behavior, Withdrawn Behavior, Eating Problems, Elimination Difficulties, Sleep Problems, Externalizing Behaviors, Tics and Habit Behaviors and Somatic Problems. Our results overlap with previously established empirical models of preschool psychopathology and point towards a possible common framework for describing preschool psychopathology across different assessment instruments. They also highlight avenues for research and prevention work in the field of preschool mental health.

child, preschool, developmental psychopathology, taxonomy, epidemiology, screening

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