Identifying patterns of informant discrepancy and trajectories of youth depressive symptoms through a latent variable approach
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The aim of this study was to identify classes of children at the outset of school transitions with different patterns of informant discrepancy with respect to depressive symptoms. A latent class analysis was conducted with a longitudinal sample of 456 predominantly low-income African American children. Results identified multiple classes of children differentiated mostly by symptom severity. Regression analysis identified significant differences between classes and predictors of depressive symptoms including student self-esteem and perceived parental monitoring, parent rated behavioral indicators such as peer rejection and teacher rated need for counseling services. Although there were relatively consistent reports among informants, latent class regressions still show meaningful differences between informants on variables that may provide contextual information about depressive symptoms. A latent transition analysis found that class membership was relatively stable between 6th and 9th grade time points and the majority of transitions were made by students transitioning into lower depression-risk classes. These findings serve an important role in continued validation of the diverging operations approach as a useful framework for understanding informant discrepancies.
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