Limited data are available on lifetime prevalence and age-of-onset distributions of psychological disorders and suicidal behaviors among Army personnel. We used simulation methods to approximate such estimates based on analysis of data from a U.S. national general population survey with the sociodemographic profile of U.S. Army personnel. Estimated lifetime prevalence of any Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) anxiety, mood, behavior, or substance disorder in this sample was 53.1% (17.7% for mood disorders, 27.2% for anxiety disorders, 22.7% for behavior disorders, and 14.4% for substance disorders). The vast majority of cases had onsets before the expected age of enlistment if they were in the Army (91.6%). Lifetime prevalence was 14.2% for suicidal ideation, 5.4% for suicide plans, and 4.5% for suicide attempts. The proportion of estimated preenlistment onsets was between 68.4% (suicide plans) and 82.4% (suicidal ideation). Externalizing disorders with onsets before expected age of enlistment and internalizing disorders with onsets after expected age of enlistment significantly predicted postenlistment suicide attempts, with population attributable risk proportions of 41.8% and 38.8%, respectively. Implications of these findings are discussed for interventions designed to screen, detect, and treat psychological disorders and suicidality in the Army.
CONTEXT: Estimates of DSM-IV disorder prevalence are high; stringent criteria to define need for services are desired. OBJECTIVE: To present US national data on the prevalence and sociodemographic correlates of 12-month serious emotional disturbance (SED), defined by the US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, from the National Comorbidity Survey Replication Adolescent Supplement. DESIGN: The National Comorbidity Survey Replication Adolescent Supplement is a national survey of DSM-IV anxiety, mood, behavior, and substance disorders among US adolescents. SETTING: Dual-frame household and school samples of US adolescents. PARTICIPANTS: Total of 6483 pairs of adolescents aged 13 to 17 (interviews) and parents (questionnaires). MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The DSM-IV disorders were assessed with the World Health Organization Composite International Diagnostic Interview and validated with blinded clinical interviews based on the Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia for School-Age Children. Serious emotional disturbance was operationalized as a DSM-IV/Composite International Diagnostic Interview disorder with a score of 50 or less on the Children's Global Assessment Scale (ie, moderate impairment in most areas of functioning or severe impairment in at least 1 area). Concordance of Composite International Diagnostic Interview SED diagnoses with blinded Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia for School-Age Children diagnoses was good. RESULTS: The estimated prevalence of SED was 8.0%. Most SEDs were due to behavior (54.5%) or mood (31.4%) disorders. Although respondents with 3 or more disorders made up only 29.0% of those with 12-month DSM-IV/Composite International Diagnostic Interview disorders, they constituted 63.5% of SEDs. Predictive effects of high comorbidity were significantly greater than the product of their disorder-specific odds ratios and consistent across disorder types. Associations of sociodemographic variables with SED were generally nonsignificant after controlling for disorder type and number. CONCLUSIONS: The high estimated 12-month prevalence of DSM-IV disorders among US adolescents is largely due to mild cases. The significant between-disorder differences in risk of SED and the significant effect of high comorbidity have important public health implications for targeting interventions.
The aim of the study was to examine the social networks of sexual minority youths and to determine the associations between social networks and depressive symptoms. Data were obtained from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health), a nationally representative cohort study of American adolescents (N = 14,212). Wave 1 (1994-1995) collected extensive information about the social networks of participants through peer nomination inventories, as well as measures of sexual minority status and depressive symptoms. Using social network data, we examined three characteristics of adolescents' social relationships: (1) social isolation; (2) degree of connectedness; and (3) social status. Sexual minority youths, particularly females, were more isolated, less connected, and had lower social status in peer networks than opposite-sex attracted youths. Among sexual minority male (but not female) youths, greater isolation as well as lower connectedness and status within a network were associated with greater depressive symptoms. Moreover, greater isolation in social networks partially explained the association between sexual minority status and depressive symptoms among males. Finally, a significant 3-way interaction indicated that the association between social isolation and depression was stronger for sexual minority male youths than non-minority youths and sexual minority females. These results suggest that the social networks in which sexual minority male youths are embedded may confer risk for depressive symptoms, underscoring the importance of considering peer networks in both research and interventions targeting sexual minority male adolescents.
OBJECTIVES: Although previous research has shown that low socioeconomic status (SES) is associated with mental illness, it is unclear which aspects of SES are most important. We investigated this issue by examining associations between 5 aspects of SES and adolescent mental disorders. METHODS: Data came from a national survey of US adolescents (n = 6483). Associations among absolute SES (parental income and education), relative SES (relative deprivation, subjective social status), and community level income variation (Gini coefficient) with past-year mental disorders were examined. RESULTS: Subjective social status (mean 0, variance 1) was most consistently associated with mental disorder. Odds ratios with mood, anxiety, substance, and behavior disorders after controlling for other SES indicators were all statistically significant and in the range of 0.7 to 0.8. Associations were strongest for White adolescents. Parent education was associated with low risk for anxiety disorder, relative deprivation with high risk for mood disorder, and the other 2 indicators were associated with none of the disorders considered. CONCLUSIONS: Associations between SES and adolescent mental disorders are most directly the result of perceived social status, an aspect of SES that might be more amenable to interventions than objective aspects of SES.
We used structural MRI and EEG to examine brain structure and function in typically developing children in Romania (n = 20), children exposed to institutional rearing (n = 29), and children previously exposed to institutional rearing but then randomized to a high-quality foster care intervention (n = 25). In so doing, we provide a unique evaluation of whether placement in an improved environment mitigates the effects of institutional rearing on neural structure, using data from the only existing randomized controlled trial of foster care for institutionalized children. Children enrolled in the Bucharest Early Intervention Project underwent a T1-weighted MRI protocol. Children with histories of institutional rearing had significantly smaller cortical gray matter volume than never-institutionalized children. Cortical white matter was no different for children placed in foster care than never-institutionalized children but was significantly smaller for children not randomized to foster care. We were also able to explain previously reported reductions in EEG $\alpha$-power among institutionally reared children compared with children raised in families using these MRI data. As hypothesized, the association between institutionalization and EEG $\alpha$-power was partially mediated by cortical white matter volume for children not randomized to foster care. The increase in white matter among children randomized to an improved rearing environment relative to children who remained in institutional care suggests the potential for developmental "catch up" in white matter growth, even following extreme environmental deprivation.