Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) is characterized by disobedience, irritability, and hostility directed toward authority figures. Evidence suggests that there is an important distinction between the behavioural and affective symptoms of the disorder; however, it is currently unclear whether there are distinct subtypes of ODD. Using data from a high-risk, longitudinal sample from the Fast Track Project (n = 446), latent class analysis was used to examine latent classes of youth based on parent-reported ODD symptom criteria, separately at four different time points (grades 3, 6, 9, and 12). Three-class solutions were supported in all grades, with latent classes representing youth with Low (69.55-78.17% across grades), Moderate (14.52-23.24%), and High (3.53-9.03%) probabilities of parent-reported ODD symptoms. Tests of measurement invariance revealed some differences in the structure of latent classes across certain time points. Demographic variables, including race and initial levels of risk for conduct problems, significantly predicted latent class membership. The findings do not support the existence of ODD subtypes and suggest that symptom severity may be more important for distinguishing youth with ODD symptoms. More person-centered research is required to understand how the disorder presents across development.
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Thesis advisor: McMahon, Robert
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