All peer reviewed publications are listed below. Other publications will be uploaded shortly.

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Hancox, R.J., Milne, B.J., Poulton, R. | 2004

Association between child and adolescent television viewing and adult health: a longitudinal birth cohort study

Lancet, 2004, 364(364), 257-262.
Our ref: RO465

Show abstract » Background: Watching television in childhood and adolescence has been linked to a number of adverse health indicators including obesity, poor fitness, smoking and raised cholesterol. However, there have been no longitudinal studies of childhood viewing and adult health. We explored these associations in a birth cohort followed to age 26. Methods: Approximately 1000 unselected individuals born in Dunedin, New Zealand in 1972-1973 have been assessed at regular intervals up to age 26. The associations between earlier television viewing and Body Mass Index (BMI), cardio-respiratory fitness (maximum aerobic power assessed by a submaximal cycling test), serum cholesterol, smoking status and blood pressure at age 26 were examined using regression analyses. Findings: Average weeknight viewing hours between age 5 and 15 were associated with increased BMI, lower cardio-respiratory fitness, increased cigarette smoking and raised serum cholesterol (P values <0·05). There was no significant association with blood pressure. Except for cholesterol, these associations persisted after adjustment for potential confounding factors including childhood socio-economic status, age 5 BMI, parental BMI, parental smoking, and age 15 physical activity and dietary indicators. Population attributable fractions indicate that 17% of overweight, 15% of raised serum cholesterol, 16% of smoking and 15% of poor fitness at age 26 could be attributed to watching television for more than 2 hours a day during childhood and adolescence. Interpretation: Television viewing in childhood and adolescence is associated with overweight, poor fitness, smoking and raised cholesterol in adulthood. Excessive viewing may have long-lasting adverse effects on health.
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Skegg, K.M., Nada-Raja, S., Moffitt, T. E. | 2004

Self-harm and psychiatric disorder: A population-based study

Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, 2004, 34(34), 187-196.
Our ref: RO464

Show abstract » Abstract: Little is known about the extent to which minor self-harm in the general population is associated with psychiatric disorder. A population-based sample of 980 young adults was interviewed independently about past-year suicidal and self-harm behavior and thoughts, and psychiatric disorders. Self-harm included self-harmful behaviors such as self-battery, as well as traditional methods of suicide (ICD [International Classification of Diseases] self-harm). All with ICD self-harm and most with other self-harmful behavior met the criteria for DSM-IV disorder. Suicidal/self-harmful thoughts increased the odds for self-harm, even in men without psychiatric disorder (odds ratio 4.9, 95% confidence interval 1.3 - 17.9). Young adults engaging in even minor self-harm warrant screening for psychiatric disorder.
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Nada-Raja, S., Skegg, K.M., Langley, J.D., Morrison, D.N., Sowerby, P. | 2004

Self-harmful behaviours in a population-based sample of young adults

Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, 2004, 34(34), 177-186.
Our ref: RO463

Show abstract » A birth cohort of 472 women and 494 men aged 26 years was inter-viewed about a range of self-harmful behaviors first and then asked about suicidal intent. Lifetime prevalence of self-harm using traditional methods of suicide (ICD [International Classification of Diseases] self-harm) was 13%, with 9% of the sample describing at least one such episode as attempted suicide. Other self-harmful behaviors were common; 14% of women and 33% of men reported self-battery. ICD self-harm over the past year was reported by 3%, mostly without suicidal intent. ICD self-harm and even lesser behaviors were associated with high odds of reporting suicidal ideation. The findings suggest that studies of self-harm should include behaviors not necessarily associated with suicidal intent.
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Gulliver, P., Begg, D.J. | 2004

Influences during adolescence on perceptions and behaviour related to alcohol use and unsafe driving as young adults

Accident Analysis and Prevention, 2004, 36(36), 773-781.
Our ref: RO462

Show abstract » Objective: To investigate whether aggression, parent and peer influences, and previous traffic-related experiences at ages 15 and 18 impacted on (a) differences between the perceived safe and estimated legal alcohol consumption limit, and (b) driving while impaired (DWI) behaviour at age 21. Method: The study population was a birth cohort involved in a longitudinal investigation of health and development. At the ages of 15 and 18, study members completed questionnaires assessing parent and peer attachment, experience travelling with an alcohol impaired adult or youth, aggression, and previous crash experience. At age 21, study members were questioned about how much alcohol they perceived they could drink and still drive safely, and whether they had driven after 'perhaps consuming too much alcohol'. For each participant their legal alcohol consumption limit was estimated using their height and weight. Path analysis was used to determine whether variables measured at ages 15 and 18 predicted differences between the perceived safe and estimated legal alcohol consumption limit and driving while impaired, both measured at age 21. Results: Insufficient females drove while impaired at age 21, who also had complete data on all other variables, to conduct path analysis for this outcome. For males, aggression at ages 15 and 18, travelling with an impaired youth at age 18, and previous crash experience at age 18 predicted DWI behaviour at age 21. Only aggression at age 15 predicted the difference between perceived safe and estimated legal alcohol consumption limit for the males. For females, aggression at ages 15 and 18, and travelling with an impaired adult at age 15 predicted the difference between perceived safe and estimated legal alcohol consumption limit. Conclusion: The results show that aggressive behaviours and adult and/or youth modelling of drink driving behaviours in mid- to late-adolescence are related to differences between perceived safe and estimated legal alcohol consumption limit for both genders and driving while impaired for males.
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Arseneault, L. , Cannon, M. , Witton, J. , Murray, R. M. | 2004

Causal association between cannabis and psychosis: examination of the evidence

British Journal of Psychiatry, 2004, 184(184), 110-117.

Our ref: RO461

Show abstract » BACKGROUND: Controversy remains as to whether cannabis acts as a causal risk factor for schizophrenia or other functional psychotic illnesses. AIMS: To examine critically the evidence that cannabis causes psychosis using established criteria of causality. METHOD: We identified five studies that included a well-defined sample drawn from population-based registers or cohorts and used prospective measures of cannabis use and adult psychosis. RESULTS: On an individual level, cannabis use confers an overall twofold increase in the relative risk for later schizophrenia. At the population level, elimination of cannabis use would reduce the incidence of schizophrenia by approximately 8%, assuming a causal relationship. Cannabis use appears to be neither a sufficient nor a necessary cause for psychosis. It is a component cause, part of a complex constellation of factors leading to psychosis. CONCLUSIONS: Cases of psychotic disorder could be prevented by discouraging cannabis use among vulnerable youths. Research is needed to understand the mechanisms by which cannabis causes psychosis.
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Hancox, R. J. , Milne, B. J. , Taylor, D. R. , Greene, J. M. , Cowan, J. O. , Flannery, E. M. , Herbison, G. P. , McLachlan, C. R. , Poulton, R. , Sears, M. R. | 2004

Relationship between socioeconomic status and asthma: a longitudinal cohort study

Thorax, 2004, 59(59), 376-80.
Our ref: RO460

Show abstract » BACKGROUND: There is conflicting information about the relationship between asthma and socioeconomic status, with different studies reporting no, positive, or inverse associations. Most of these studies have been cross sectional in design and have relied on subjective markers of asthma such as symptoms of wheeze. Many have been unable to control adequately for potential confounding factors. METHODS: We report a prospective cohort study of approximately 1000 individuals born in Dunedin, New Zealand in 1972-3. This sample has been assessed regularly throughout childhood and into adulthood, with detailed information collected on asthma symptoms, lung function, airway responsiveness, and atopy. The prevalence of these in relation to measures of socioeconomic status were analysed with and without controls for potential confounding influences including parental history of asthma, smoking, breast feeding, and birth order using cross sectional time series models. RESULTS: No consistent association was found between childhood or adult socioeconomic status and asthma prevalence, lung function, or airway responsiveness at any age. Having asthma made no difference to educational attainment or socioeconomic status by age 26. There were trends to increased atopy in children from higher socioeconomic status families consistent with previous reports. CONCLUSIONS: Socioeconomic status in childhood had no significant impact on the prevalence of asthma in this New Zealand born cohort. Generalisation of these results to other societies should be done with caution, but our results suggest that the previously reported associations may be due to confounding.
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Rutter, M., Caspi, A., Fergusson, D.M., Horwood, L.J., Goodman, R., Maughan, B., Moffitt, T. E. , Melzer, H., Carroll, J. | 2004

Sex differences in developmental reading disability: New findings from four epidemiological studies

JAMA , 2004, 291(291), 1007-2012.
Our ref: RO459

Show abstract » Context An influential article published in 1990 claimed that the increased rate of reading disability in boys was a consequence of referral bias. Objectives To summarize the history of research on sex differences in reading disability and to provide new evidence from 4 independent epidemiological studies about the nature, extent, and significance of sex differences in reading disability. Design, Setting, and Participants The Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study comprised 989 individuals (52.1% male) in a cohort born between April 1972 and March 1973 in Dunedin, New Zealand, and followed up from age 3 years; reading performance and IQ were assessed at ages 7, 9, and 11 years using the Burt Word Reading Test and the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children Revised (WISC-R), respectively. The Christchurch Health and Development Study comprised 895 individuals (50% male) in a prospectively studied cohort born in the Christchurch, New Zealand, region during a 4-month period in 1977; reading performance and IQ were assessed at ages 8 to 10 years using the Burt Word Reading Test and the WISC-R. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) Study comprised a UK nationally representative sample of 5752 children (50.1% male) aged 9 to 15 years in 1999; reading was assessed on the British Ability Scales II and IQ on the British Picture Vocabulary Scales II. The Environmental Risk Longitudinal Twin Study (E-Risk) comprised 2163 twin children from England and Wales (49.1% male) identified at birth in 1994 and 1995 and included administration of the Test of Word Reading Efficiency at age 7 years and the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence Revised as a test of IQ at age 5 years. Main Outcome Measure Reading performance by sex in the lowest 15% of the distribution for all 4 studies, with and without taking IQ into account. Results In all 4 studies, the rates of reading disability were significantly higher in boys. For non IQ-referenced reading disability: Dunedin study, 21.6% in boys vs 7.9% in girls (odds ratio [OR], 3.19; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.15-4.17); Christchurch study, 20.6% in boys vs 9.8% in girls (OR, 2.38; 95% CI, 1.62-3.50); ONS study, 17.6% in boys vs 13.0% in girls (OR, 1.43; 95% CI, 1.23-1.65); and E-Risk, 18.0% in boys vs 13.0% in girls (OR, 1.39; 95% CI, 1.04-1.86). The rates for IQ-referenced reading disabilities were similar. Conclusion Reading disabilities are clearly more frequent in boys than in girls.
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Ehrensaft, M. K. , Moffitt, T. E. , Caspi, A. | 2004

Clinically abusive relationships in an unselected birth cohort: men's and women's participation and developmental antecedents

Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 2004, 113(113), 258-70.

Our ref: RO458

Show abstract » In an unselected birth cohort (N=980, age 24-26 years), individuals in abusive relationships causing injury and/or official intervention (9% prevalence) were compared with participants reporting physical abuse without clinical consequences and with control participants who reported no abuse, on current characteristics and prospective developmental risks. In nonclinically abusive relationships, perpetrators were primarily women. In clinically abusive relationships, men and women used physical abuse, although more women needed medical treatment for injury. Women in clinically abusive relationships had childhood family adversity, adolescent conduct problems, and aggressive personality; men had disinhibitory psychopathology since childhood and extensive personality deviance. These findings counter the hibitory assumption that if clinical abuse was ascertained in epidemiological samples, it would be primarily man-to-woman, explained by patriarchy rather than psychopathology.
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Lewsey, J.D., Thomson, W.M. | 2004

The utility of the zero-inflated Poisson and zero-inflated Negative Binomial models: a case study of cross-sectional and longitudinal DMF data examining the effect of socio-economic status

Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology, 2004, 32(32), 183-189.
Our ref: RO457

Show abstract » Objectives. To examine the utility of the zero-inflated Poisson (ZIP) and zero-inflated negative binomial (ZINB) modelling approaches for modelling four sets of dental caries data from the same cohort study (with particular attention to the influence of childhood socio-economic status, SES): cross-sectional data on the deciduous dentition at age 5; cross-sectional data on the permanent dentition at age 18 and age 26; and longitudinal data on caries increment between ages 18 and 26. Methods. Data on dental caries occurrence at ages 5, 18 and 26 were obtained from the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study (DMHDS). ZIP and ZINB models were fitted to the cross-sectional (n = 745) and longitudinal (n = 809) data sets using Stata (Intercooled Stata 7.0, Stata Corporation, College Station TX 77840, USA, 2001). The dependent variables for the three cross-sectional analyses were the DMFS indices at age 5, 18, and 26, and net DFS increment (NETDFS) was the dependent variable for the longitudinal analysis. Results. The empty ZIP model was a poor fit for all four data-sets, whereas the empty ZINB model showed good fit; consequently both the cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses were conducted using ZINB modelling. Being in the high-SES group during childhood was associated with a greater probability of being caries-free by age 18, over and above that which would be expected from the negative binomial process. Low childhood SES also had the largest coefficient in the modelling of the negative binomial process, but at age 5, where the adjusted mean dmfs score in the low-SES group was 6.8 (compared to 4.7 and 2.9 in the medium- and high-SES groups respectively). The substantial SES differences which existed at age 5 (in the deciduous dentition) had reduced somewhat by age 18, and had widened again by age 26. In the longitudinal analysis, "baseline" caries experience (age-18 DMFS) was a predictor both of being an extra zero and of caries severity. Conclusion. This investigation of the utility of the zero-inflated approach for modelling both cross-sectional and longitudinal caries data has shown that ZIP/ZINB models can provide new insight into disease patterns. It is anticipated that they will become increasingly used in epidemiological studies that use the DMF index as the outcome measure.
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Wright, B.R., Caspi, A., Moffitt, T.E., Paternoster, R. | 2004

Does the perceived risk of punishment deter criminally-prone individuals? Rational choice, self-control, and crime

Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 2004, 41(41), 180-213.
Our ref: RO456

Show abstract » Society's efforts to deter crime with punishment may be ineffective because those individuals most prone to commit crime often act impulsively, with little thought for the future, and so they may be unmoved by the threat of later punishment. Deterrence messages they receive, therefore, may fall on deaf ears. This article examines this issue by testing the relationship between criminal propensity, perceived risks and costs of punishment, and criminal behavior. The authors analyzed data from the Dunedin (New Zealand) Study, a longitudinal study of individuals from birth through age26 (N = 1,002). They found that in fact, deterrence perceptions had their greatest impact on criminally prone study members.
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Goulding, A. , Rockell, J.E.P., Black, R.E., Grant, A.M., Jones, I.E., Williams, S.M. | 2004

Children who avoid drinking cow's milk are at increased risk for prepubertal bone fractures

Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 2004, 104(104), 250-253.

Our ref: RO455.2

Show abstract » The full fracture histories of 50 children (30 girls and 20 boys, age range 3 to 13 years) who had avoided drinking cow's milk for prolonged periods were compared with those in a birth cohort of more than 1,000 children from the same city. Children who avoided milk did not use calcium-rich food substitutes appropriately and had low dietary calcium intakes and low bone mineral density values. Many were overweight (22 of 50). Significantly more of the children who avoided milk reported fractures (16 observed vs 6 expected, ÷2=31.0, P<.001, df=5). They also experienced more total fractures than the birth cohort population (22 observed vs 8 expected, ÷2=33.6, P<.001, df=5). All of the fractures occurred before puberty, the majority (18 of 22) being associated with only slight trauma. Forearm fractures were especially common (12 fractures). We conclude that young children avoiding milk are prone to fracture.
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Jones, I.E., Williams, S.M., Goulding, A. | 2004

Associations of birth weight and length, childhood size and smoking to bone fractures during growth: evidence from a birth cohort study

American Journal of Epidemiology, 2004, 159(159), 343-350.

Our ref: RO455

Show abstract » Little information exists on risk factors associated with bone fractures during childhood and adolescence. This 1972/1973–1990/1991 New Zealand study examined the influence of birth size, height and weight throughout growth, smoking, breastfeeding, and sports participation on the risk of fracture in participants of the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study. Information on height, weight, fracture status, and lifestyle was collected at birth and at ages 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, and 18 years from parents and/or participants. Study members sustained 229 (girls) and 393 (boys) fractures between birth and age 18 years. Fracture risk was elevated (per standard deviation unit increase) in relation to birth length (prepubertal fractures only) (risk ratio (RR) = 1.28, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.04, 1.58), weight at age 3 years (RR = 1.14, 95% CI: 1.03, 1.27), weight from ages 5 to 18 years (RR = 1.15, 95% CI: 1.03, 1.28), height at age 3 years (RR = 1.13, 95% CI: 1.01, 1.26), and height from ages 5 to 18 years (RR = 1.13, 95% CI: 1.02, 1.24). Birth weight, maternal smoking, breastfeeding, and sports participation had no significant effect on fracture risk. However, for teenagers, personal daily smoking increased the risk of fracture (RR = 1.43, 95% CI: 1.05, 1.95). The authors concluded that tall and heavy children had an increased risk of fracture, as did adolescents who smoked regularly.
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Arseneault, L., Cannon, M., Murray, R. M., Poulton, R., Caspi, A., Moffitt, T.E. | 2003

Childhood origins of violent behaviour in adults with schizophreniform disorder

British Journal of Psychiatry, 2003, 183(183), 520-525.
Our ref: RO454

Show abstract » Background: People with psychosis have an elevated risk of violence. Aims: To examine whether violent behaviour in adults with psychosis can be accounted for by psychotic symptoms or physical aggression in childhood. Method: We used data from a prospective longitudinal study of a complete birth cohort born in New Zealand. When cohort members were 26 years old, information was obtained on past-year psychiatric diagnosis of schizophreniform disorder and on violent behaviour. Childhood psychotic symptoms were measured at age 11 years using a diagnostic interview, and childhood physical aggression was assessed by teachers when cohort members were aged 7, 9 and 11 years. Results: Participants with schizophreniform disorder were more likely to be violent than participants without, even after controlling for sociodemographic variables and concurrent substance dependence disorders. Childhood psychotic symptoms were a strong risk factor for violence in adults with schizophreniform disorder, as was childhood physical aggression, although to a lesser extent. Conclusions: Violence by individuals with schizophreniform disorder could be prevented by monitoring early signs of psychotic symptoms and by controlling childhood physical aggression.
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Belsky, J., Jaffee, S.R., Caspi, A., Moffitt, T.E., Silva, P.A. | 2003

Intergenerational relationships in young adulthood and their life-course, mental health and personality correlates

Journal of Family Psychology, 2003, 17(17), 460-471.
Our ref: RO453

Show abstract » To evaluate effects of life-course events and experiences of young adults, as well as personality and mental-health history on intergenerational relationships in young adulthood, the authors examined dyadic relationship data drawn from a sample of more than 900 New Zealand 26-year-olds and their mothers and fathers. Results indicated that intergenerational relations were more positive when young adults were childless, not unemployed, married, and living away from home, but these factors did not interact with family relationship history in predicting relationship outcomes. Intergenerational relationships were less positive when children scored low on positive emotionality and constraint and high on negative emotionality and mental disorders, though these attributes did not account for the effect of life-course factors. Results are discussed in terms of the openness of the parent-child relationship in adulthood to further development.
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Humblet, O., Paul, C., Dickson, N. | 2003

Core group evolution over time: high-risk sexual behaviour in a birth cohort between sexual debut and age 26

Sexually Transmitted Diseases, 2003, 30(30), 818-824.
Our ref: RO452

Show abstract » BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Among the limitations of the concept of a sexually transmitted disease core is uncertainty about the stability of sexual behavior over time. The objective was to shed light on characteristics and stability of the core group by assessing sexual behavior longitudinally in a birth cohort. GOALS: The goals were to describe group size and characteristics of people who report 5 or more heterosexual partners per year (a surrogate for the core group) at ages 18, 21, and 26 years. STUDY DESIGN: We used a prospective cohort study with a computer-presented questionnaire on sexual behavior. RESULTS: Of the original cohort members, 991 (97.3% of those believed to be alive) responded at at least one age. A total of 14.7% of women and 26.0% of men were in the core group at either age 18 or 21 or 26, but only 0.5% and 0.9% of women and men, respectively, were in the core group at all ages. Those in the core group were significantly more likely to report concurrent partnerships and higher sexually transmitted disease (STD) rates. Early age at first sex was consistently associated with being in the core group, whereas those with less education were more likely to be in the core group at age 18 but not at later ages. CONCLUSION: The high degree of variability in sexual behavior over time of individuals adds another degree of complexity to the identification of a core group for STD transmission.
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Nada-Raja, S., Morrison, D.N., Skegg, K.M. | 2003

A population-based study of help-seeking for self-harm in young adults

Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 2003, 37(37), 600-605.
Our ref: RO451

Show abstract » Objective: To examine help-seeking for self-harm in a population-based sample of young adults. Method: Nine hundred and sixty-five participants aged 26 years were interviewed about help-seeking and barriers to help-seeking for a range of self-harmful behaviours. Self-harm included the traditional methods of suicide ( ICD-9 self-harm) and other self-harmful behaviours such as self-battery and self-biting. Results: Just over half of the 25 in the ICD-self-harm group ( based on ICD-9 self-harm criteria) and one-fifth of the 119 in the other self-harmful behaviour group had sought professional help. Counsellors, psychologists, and general practitioners were the commonest sources of help. Most participants rated help received from health services favourably, however, emergency services were rated less favourably than other health services. Among 77 self-harm participants who did not seek help, just over one-third reported attitudinal barriers. Conclusions: To encourage help-seeking by young adults who self-harm, especially young men who are at high risk for self-harm and suicide, it may be necessary to identify ways to reduce attitudinal barriers.
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Poulton, R., Caspi, A. | 2003

Commentary: Personality and the socioeconomic-health gradient

International Journal of Epidemiology, 2003, 32(32), 975-977.
Our ref: RO450

Show abstract » The socioeconomic (SES) gradient in health whereby higher position equates to better health spans both time and place and is found for almost all diseases and many health risk behaviours. The near universality of this phenomenon has led to a search for more fundamental causes. Although differences in material resources and/or psychosocial attributes have been postulated, neither can satisfactorily explain the ubiquity of the socioeconomic-health gradient. In this edition of the journal, Pulkki and colleagues ask if adolescent personality traits can explain the inverse relation between selected cardiovascular health risk behaviours and educational achievement. Their longitudinal study shows that a set of "Type A" - like personality traits predict educational attainment (a component of SES) and accounts for part of the SES gradient in health risk behaviour. The study delivers an important message that we hope will not be lost in the details of the work. The message, as we understand it, is that collaboration between epidemiologists and personality psychologists may prove helpful in better understanding how one's position in the social structure affects health. In this commentary, we amplify two issues. First, we discuss promising directions in the measurement of personality, and the need to use more comprehensive, and more comparable, personality measurement across epidemiological studies. Second, we discuss issues of causation, and identify alternative ways in which personality may contribute to the social gradient in health.
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Broidy, L.M., Nagin, D.S., Tremblay, R.E., Brame, R., Dodge, K., Fergusson, D.M., Horwood, L.J., Loeber, R., Laird, R., Lynam, D.R., Moffitt, T.E. | 2003

Developmental trajectories of childhood disruptive behavior disorders and adolescent delinquency: A cross-national replication

Developmental Psychology, 2003, 39(39), 222-245.
Our ref: RO449

Show abstract » This study used data from 6 sites and 3 countries to examine the developmental course of physical aggression in childhood and to analyze its linkage to violent and nonviolent offending outcomes in adolescence. The results indicate that among boys there is continuity in problem behavior from childhood to adolescence and that such continuity is especially acute when early problem behavior takes the form of physical aggression. Chronic physical aggression during the elementary school years specifically increases the risk for continued physical violence as well as other nonviolent forms of delinquency during adolescence. However, this conclusion is reserved primarily for boys, because the results indicate no clear linkage between childhood physical aggression and adolescent offending among female samples despite notable similarities across male and female samples in the developmental course of physical aggression in childhood.
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Sears, M.R., Greene, J.M., Willan, A., Wiecek, E., Taylor, D.R., Flannery, E.M., Cowan, J.O., Herbison, G. P. , Silva, P.A., Poulton, R. | 2003

A longitudinal population-based cohort study of childhood asthma followed to adulthood

New England Journal of Medicine, 2003, 349(349), 1414-1422.
Our ref: RO448

Show abstract » Background The outcome of childhood asthma in adults has been described in high-risk cohorts, but few population-based studies have reported the risk factors for persistence and relapse. Methods We assessed children born from April 1972 through March 1973 in Dunedin, New Zealand, repeatedly from 9 to 26 years of age with questionnaires, pulmonary-function tests, bronchial-challenge testing, and allergy testing. Results By the age of 26 years, 51.4 percent of 613 study members with complete respiratory data had reported wheezing at more than one assessment. Eighty-nine study members (14.5 percent) had wheezing that persisted from childhood to 26 years of age, whereas 168 (27.4 percent) had remission, but 76 (12.4 percent) subsequently relapsed by the age of 26. Sensitization to house dust mites predicted the persistence of wheezing (odds ratio, 2.41; P=0.001) and relapse (odds ratio, 2.18; P=0.01), as did airway hyperresponsiveness (odds ratio for persistence, 3.00; P<0.001; odds ratio for relapse, 3.03; P<0.001). Female sex predicted the persistence of wheezing (odds ratio, 1.71; P=0.03), as did smoking at the age of 21 years (odds ratio, 1.84; P=0.01). The earlier the age at onset, the greater the risk of relapse (odds ratio, 0.89 per year of increase in the age at onset; P<0.001). Pulmonary function was consistently lower in those with persistent wheezing than in those without persistent wheezing. Conclusions In an unselected birth cohort, more than one in four children had wheezing that persisted from childhood to adulthood or that relapsed after remission. The factors predicting persistence or relapse were sensitization to house dust mites, airway hyperresponsiveness, female sex, smoking, and early age at onset. These findings, together with persistently low lung function, suggest that outcomes in adult asthma may be determined primarily in early childhood.
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Sears, M.R., Taylor, D.R., Poulton, R. | 2003

Breastfeeding and asthma: Appraising the controversy - a rebuttal. Commentary

Pediatric Pulmonology, 2003, 36(36), 366-368.
Our ref: RO447

Show abstract » No abstract
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Richardson, L., Davis, R., Poulton, R., McCauley, E., Moffitt, T.E., Caspi, A., Connell, F.A. | 2003

A longitudinal evaluation of adolescent depression and adult obesity

Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, 2003, 157(157), 739-745.
Our ref: RO446

Show abstract » Background: Prior studies have had conflicting results regarding the relationship between adolescent depression and adult obesity. Objective: To test the hypothesis that depression in adolescence would increase the risk for obesity in early adulthood. Methods: We used data from a longitudinal study of a birth cohort of children born between April 1, 1972, and March 31, 1973, in Dunedin, New Zealand (N = 1037). These data included regular diagnostic mental health interviews and height/weight measurements throughout childhood and adolescence. We performed logistic regression analyses to assess the relationship between major depression in early or late adolescence and the risk for obesity at 26 years of age. Results: Major depression occurred in 7% of the cohort during early adolescence (11, 13, and 15 years of age) and 27% during late adolescence (18 and 21 years of age). At 26 years of age, 12% of study members were obese. After adjusting for each individual's baseline body mass index (calculated as the weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters), depressed late adolescent girls were at a greater than 2-fold increased risk for obesity in adulthood compared with their non-depressed female peers (relative risk, 2.32; 95% confidence interval, 1.29-3.83). A dose-response relationship between the number of episodes of depression during adolescence and risk for adult obesity was also observed in female subjects. The association was not observed for late adolescent boys or for early adolescent boys or girls. Conclusions: Depression in late adolescence is associated with later obesity, but only among girls. Future studies should address reasons for these age and sex differences and the potential for intervention to reduce the risk for adult obesity in depressed older adolescent girls.
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Kim-Cohen, J., Caspi, A., Moffitt, T.E., Harrington, H. L. , Milne, B.J., Poulton, R. | 2003

Prior juvenile diagnoses in adults with mental disorder: Developmental follow-back of a prospective-longitudinal cohort

Archives of General Psychiatry, 2003, 60(60), 709-719.
Our ref: RO445

Show abstract » Background: If most adults with mental disorders are found to have a juvenile psychiatric history, this would shift etiologic research and prevention policy to focus more on childhood mental disorders. Method: Our prospective longitudinal study followed up a representative birth cohort (N = 1037). We made psychiatric diagnoses according to DSM criteria at 11, 13, 15, 18, 21, and 26 years of age. Adult disorders were defined in the following 3 ways: (1) cases diagnosed using a standardized diagnostic interview, (2) the subset using treatment, and (3) the subset receiving intensive mental health services. Follow-back analyses ascertained the proportion of adult cases who had juvenile diagnoses and the types of juvenile diagnoses they had. Results: Among adult cases defined via the Diagnostic Interview Schedule, 73.9% had received a diagnosis before 18 years of age and 50.0% before 15 years of age. Among treatment-using cases, 76.5% received a diagnosis before 18 years of age and 57.5% before 15 years of age. Among cases receiving intensive mental health services, 77.9% received a diagnosis before 18 years of age and 60.3% before 15 years of age. Adult disorders were generally preceded by their juvenile counterparts (eg, adult anxiety was preceded by juvenile anxiety), but also by different disorders. Specifically, adult anxiety and schizophreniform disorders were preceded by a broad array of juvenile disorders. For all adult disorders, 25% to 60% of cases had a history of conduct and/or oppositional defiant disorder. Conclusions: Most adult disorders should be reframed as extensions of juvenile disorders. In particular, juvenile conduct disorder is a priority prevention target for reducing psychiatric disorder in the adult population.
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Howell, S., Poulton, R., Caspi, A., Talley, N. J. | 2003

Relationship between abdominal pain subgroups in the community and psychiatric diagnosis and personality: a birth cohort study

Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 2003, 55(55), 179-187.
Our ref: RO444

Show abstract » Introduction: It is unclear if there is a causal link between psychiatric disorders and unexplained chronic gastrointestinal (GI) symptomatology. The role of personality is also in dispute. We aimed to assess the association of these factors with functional GI symptoms in a birth cohort study. Methods: The Dunedin birth cohort is well characterised and has been followed-up prospectively to age 26 (n=980). Measured were upper and lower GI symptoms over the prior year at age 26 using a validated questionnaire, psychiatric diagnoses at ages 18 and 21 by standardised interview applying DSM-III-R criteria, and personality at age 18 using the Multidimensional Personality Questionnaire (MPQ). Natural symptom groupings were identified using factor analysis and k-means clustering. The association of these clusters and psychiatric diagnoses or personality was assessed by logistic regression. Results: The k-means analysis produced a six-cluster solution, which was made up of a health group, and five disease clusters defined by higher than average scores on a single symptom. A diagnosis of depression at age 18 or 21 years was associated with increases in the odds of 1.69 (95% CI: 1.27–2.25) for all GI, of 2.16 (95% CI: 1.12–4.16) for dysmotility and of 2.07 (95% CI: 1.13–3.80) for constipation, but not with the other clusters. Similar results were observed with respect to anxiety disorders for the odds of GI overall (OR=1.42, 95% CI: 1.01–1.99) and constipation (OR=2.11, 95% CI: 1.17–3.79). The personality subscales were not strongly linked; membership of any diseased cluster was associated with a reduced odds of being in the fourth quartile for the well-being scale (OR=0.64, 95% CI: 0.46–0.88) but increased odds of being in the fourth quartile for the social potency scale (OR=1.64, 95% CI: 1.18–2.28). Conclusions: In a young adult community sample, unexplained GI symptoms appear to be linked to psychiatric disorders but personality differences were minimal.
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Droomers, M., Shrijvers, C.T.M., Casswell, S., Mackenback, J.P. | 2003

Occupational level of the father and alcohol consumption during adolescence: patterns and predictors

Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 2003, 57(57), 704-710.
Our ref: RO443

Show abstract » Study objective: This paper describes and attempts to explain the association between occupational level of the father and high alcohol consumption among a cohort of New Zealand adolescents from age 11 to 21. Design: Data were obtained from the longitudinal Dunedin multidisciplinary health and development study. At each measurement wave, those who then belonged to the quartile that reported the highest usual amount of alcohol consumed on a typical drinking occasion were categorised as high alcohol consumers. Potential predictors of high alcohol consumption included environmental factors, individual factors, and educational achievement measured at age 9, 11, or 13. Longitudinal logistic GEE analyses described and explained the relation between father's occupation and adolescent alcohol consumption. Setting: Dunedin, New Zealand. Participants: About 1000 children were followed up from birth in 1972 until adulthood. Main results: A significant association between fathers' occupation and adolescent alcohol consumption emerged at age 15. Overall adolescents from the lowest occupational group had almost twice the odds of being a large consumer than the highest occupational group. The association between father's occupation and high alcohol consumption during adolescence was explained by the higher prevalence of familial alcohol problems and friends approving of alcohol consumption, lower intelligence scores, and lower parental attachment among adolescents from lower occupational groups. Conclusions: Socioeconomic background affects adolescent alcohol consumption substantially. This probably contributes to cumulation of disadvantage. Prevention programmes should focus on adolescents from lower socioeconomic groups and make healthier choices the easier choices by means of environmental change.
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Caspi, A., Sugden, K., Moffitt, T.E., Taylor, A., Craig, I., Harrington, H. L., McClay, J., Mill, J.S, Martin, J. , Braithwaite, A., Poulton, R. | 2003

Influence of life stress on depression: Moderation by a polymorphism in the 5-HTT gene

Science, 2003, 301(301), 386-389.
Our ref: RO440

Show abstract » In a prospective-longitudinal study of a representative birth cohort, we tested why stressful experiences lead to depression in some people but not in others. A functional polymorphism in the promoter region of the serotonin transporter (5-HTT) gene was found to moderate the influence of stressful life events on depression. Individuals with one or two copies of the short allele of the 5-HTT promoter potymorphism exhibited more depressive symptoms, diagnosable depression, and suicidality in relation to stressful life events than individuals homozygous for the long allele. This epidemiological study thus provides evidence of a gene-by-environment interaction, in which an individual's response to environmental insults is moderated by his or her genetic makeup.
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Caspi, A., Harrington, H. L., Milne, B.J., Amell, J.W., Theodore, R.F., Moffitt, T.E. | 2003

Children's behavioral styles at age 3 are linked to their adult personality traits at age 26

Journal of Personality , 2003, 71(71), 495-513.
Our ref: RO439

Show abstract » We observed 1,000 3-year-old children who exhibited five temperament types: Undercontrolled, Inhibited, Confident, Reserved, and Well-adjusted. Twenty-three years later, we reexamined 96% of the children as adults, using multiple methods of comprehensive personality assessment, including both self- and informant-reports. These longitudinal data provide the longest and strongest evidence to date that children's early-emerging behavioral styles can foretell their characteristic behaviors, thoughts, and feelings as adults, pointing to the foundations of the human personality in the early years of life.
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Casswell, S., Pledger, M., Hooper, R. | 2003

Socioeconomic status and drinking patterns in young adults

Addiction, 2003, 98(98), 601-610.
Our ref: RO438

Show abstract » Aims: To investigate the relationship between several indicators of socio-economic status and drinking patterns in young adulthood. Design: Data collected in a longitudinal study of young adults was analysed using repeated measures models to examine the relationship between income, occupational activity and educational achievement and patterns of drinking. Setting: These data were collected as part of a longitudinal study of a birth cohort of New Zealanders. They were interviewed for the most part in a central location using face to face method and a computer assisted alcohol interview. Participants: The participants were members of the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study aged 18, 21 and 26. Nine hundred and sixty nine study members contributed to the analysis. Study members have been found to be broadly representative of the New Zealand population and cross national studies suggest findings are generalisable to other similar market economies. Measurements: Three indicators of socio-economic status were used; educational achievement, occupational activity and income. The educational achievement indicator at age 18 had three levels that ranged from no school qualifications to higher school qualifications. For age 21 two additional categories of tertiary educational achievement were included to make five categories and for age 26 higher tertiary degrees were included in the measure to make six categories. Five categories of occupational activity were used: unemployed; student; employed in higher status occupation; employed in lower status occupation; and homemakers/unpaid workers. Income data was also used. Two measures of alcohol consumption were used. These were the frequency of drinking and the typical quantity of alcohol consumed per drinking occasion in the past year. Both of these measures were computed from a series of five location-specific questions. Findings: Frequency of drinking increased over these early adult years and the quantities consumed peaked at age 21 and decreased thereafter for both males and females. Frequency of drinking during these years was influenced by income with the higher income respondents drinking more often and this was persistent overtime. Quantity of drinking was most influenced by educational achievement. The less well educated young adult drank significantly more during a drinking occasion and at all ages (18, 21 and 26). There was also a relationship between educational achievement and frequency of drinking for males at age 18 and a relationship between women's occupational activity and the quantities they consumed. Conclusions: The quantities of alcohol consumed and the frequency of drinking had different relationships with measures of socio-economic status. Those with fewer educational qualifications had heavier drinking occasions. More frequent drinking was more common among those with higher income but income had no relationship with the quantities consumed. The finding that the dimensions of drinking operate differently explains the lack of consistency in previous research which has investigated socio-economic status and the volumes of alcohol consumed. The findings of higher quantities consumed among those of lower social status may explain some of the reduced life expectancy found among those with lower socio-economic status.
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Share, D.L., Silva, P.A. | 2003

Gender bias in IQ-discrepancy and post-discrepancy definitions of reading disability

Journal of Learning Disabilities, 2003, 36(36), 4-14.
Our ref: RO437

Show abstract » The present study investigated the hypothesis that the higher prevalence of reading disability (RD) often observed among boys is partly an artifact of gender bias in the prediction of reading from IQ. The relevant regression statistics derived from a sample of more than 900 children revealed a statistically significant intercept bias. Predicted reading scores for boys were systematically overestimated, thereby inflating IQ-reading discrepancies; the converse was found for girls. When defined separately for girls and boys, severe underachievement in reading was found to be equally prevalent in both genders and, furthermore, was associated with qualitatively and quantitatively similar patterns of deficits. Because the bias arose from general differences between boys and girls in reading score distributions (a lower mean and greater variance for boys) rather than from differences in IQ scores, gender bias poses a potential threat not only to traditional IQ-discrepancy definitions but also to post-discrepancy definitions that are based solely on reading score cutoffs.
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Begg, D.J., Langley, J.D., Stephenson, S. | 2003

Identifying factors that predict persistent driving after drinking, unsafe driving after drinking, and driving after using cannabis among young adults

Accident Analysis and Prevention, 2003, 35(35), 669-675.
Our ref: RO436

Show abstract » The main aim of this study was to identify adolescent/young adulthood factors that predicted persistent driving after drinking, persistent unsafe driving after drinking, and persistent cannabis use and driving among young adults. It was a longitudinal study of a birth cohort (n=933, 474 males and 459 females) and was based on data collected at ages 15, 18, 21 and 26 years. At each of these ages members of the cohort attended the research unit for a personal interview by a trained interviewer, using a standardised questionnaire. For this study, the data for the outcome measures (persistent driving after drinking, persistent unsafe driving after drinking, and persistent driving after using cannabis) were obtained at ages 21 and 26 years. The main explanatory measures were collected at ages 15, 18, 21 years and included demographic factors (academic qualifications, employment, parenting); personality measures; mental health measures (substance use, cannabis dependence, alcohol dependence, depression); anti-social behaviour (juvenile arrest, aggressive behaviour, court convictions); early driving behaviour and experiences (car and motorcycle licences, traffic crashes). The analyses were conducted by gender. The results showed that females who persisted in driving after drinking (13%, n=61) were more likely than the others to have a motorcycle licence at 18. The males who persisted in driving after drinking (28%, n=135) were more likely than the other males to have some school academic qualifications and to be employed at age 26. Compared to the other males, those who persisted in unsafe driving after drinking (4%, n=17) were more likely to be aggressive at 18 and alcohol dependent at 21. Only six (1%) females persisted in unsafe driving after drinking so regression analyses were not conducted for this group. For persistent driving after using cannabis, the univariate analyses showed that females who persisted with this behaviour tended to have high substance use at 18, cannabis dependence at 21, police contact as a juvenile, and to be a parent at 21. For this group, because of the small numbers (3%, n=13) multivariate analyses were not appropriate. For the males who persisted in driving after using cannabis (14%, n=68) a wide range of variables were significant at the univariate stage. The multivariate analysis showed that the most important factors were dependence on cannabis at 21, at least one traffic conviction before 21, a non traffic conviction before 18, and low constraint at 18. Conclusion: These results show different characteristics were associated with persistence in each of these outcome behaviours. This indicates that different approaches would be required if intervention programmes were to be developed to target these behaviours.
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Roberts, B.W., Caspi, A., Moffitt, T.E. | 2003

Work experiences and personality development in young adulthood

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2003, 84(84), 582-593.
Our ref: RO435

Show abstract » This longitudinal study provides an analysis of the relationship between personality traits and work experiences with a special focus on the relationship between changes in personality and work experiences in young adulthood. Longitudinal analyses uncovered 3 findings. First, measures of personality taken at age 18 predicted both objective and subjective work experiences at age 26. Second, work experiences were related to changes in personality traits from age 18 to 26. Third, the predictive and change relations between personality traits and work experiences were corresponsive: Traits that selected people into specific work experiences were the same traits that changed in response to those same work experiences. The relevance of the findings to theories of personality development is discussed.
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Dickson, N., Paul, C., Herbison, G.P. | 2003

Same-sex attraction in a birth cohort: prevalence and persistence in early adulthood

Social Science and Medicine, 2003, 56(56), 1607-1615.
Our ref: RO434

Show abstract » There is a continuing debate about the importance of social versus biological factors in the expression of same-sex attraction. Investigation of prevalence, continuities, and changes over time among young adults growing up in a country with a relatively accepting climate to homosexuality is likely to illuminate this debate. Analyses were therefore undertaken of self-reported same-sex attraction at age 21 and 26, in a cohort of about 1000 people born in 1972/3 in one New Zealand city. Participants were also asked about same-sex behaviour and attitudes to same-sex relationships. By age 26, 10.7% of men and 24.5% of women reported being attracted to their own sex at some time. This dropped to 5.6% of men and 16.4% of women who reported some current same-sex attraction. Current attraction predominantly to their own sex or equally to both sexes (major attraction) was reported by 1.6% of men and 2.1% of women. Occasional same-sex attraction, but not major attraction, was more common among the most educated. Between age 21 and 26, slightly more men moved away from an exclusive heterosexual attraction (1.9% of all men) than moved towards it (1.0%), while for women, many more moved away (9.5%) than towards (1.3%) exclusive heterosexual attraction. These findings show that much same-sex attraction is not exclusive and is unstable in early adulthood, especially among women. The proportion of women reporting some same-sex attraction in New Zealand is high compared both to men, and to women in the UK and US. These observations, along with the variation with education, are consistent with a large role for the social environment in the acknowledgement of same-sex attraction. The smaller group with major same-sex attraction, which changed less over time, and did not differ by education, is consistent with a basic biological dimension to sexual attraction. Overall these findings argue against any single explanation for homosexual attraction.
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Skegg, K.M., Nada-Raja, S., Dickson, N., Paul, C., Williams, S.M. | 2003

Sexual orientation and self-harm in men and women

American Journal of Psychiatry, 2003, 160(160), 541-546.
Our ref: RO433

Show abstract » OBJECTIVE: Recent studies of homosexual people have found higher rates of nonfatal suicidal behavior than among heterosexuals. The purpose of this study was to determine associations between self-harm and sexual orientation for men and women separately, defining sexual orientation by sexual attraction rather than by behavior. METHOD: In a birth cohort of 1,019 New Zealand young adults eligible to be interviewed at age 26 years, 946 participated in assessments of both sexual attraction and self-harm. RESULTS: Both women and men who had experienced same-sex attraction had higher risks of self-harm. The odds ratios for suicidal ideation in the past year were 3.1 for men and 2.9 for women. Odds ratios for ever having deliberately self-harmed were 5.5 for men and 1.9 for women. Men with same-sex attraction were also significantly more likely to report having attempted suicide. In both sexes, a greater degree of same-sex attraction predicted increasing likelihood of self-harm, with over one-third of men and women with persistent major same-sex attraction reporting this. Men with even a minor degree of same-sex attraction had high rates of self-harm and resulting physical injury. One-quarter of deliberate self-harm among men and one-sixth among women was potentially attributable to same-sex attraction. CONCLUSIONS: This study provides evidence of a link between increasing degrees of same-sex attraction and self-harm in both men and women, with the possibility of some difference between the sexes that needs to be explored further.
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Milne, B.J., Belsky, J., Poulton, R., Thomson, W.M., Caspi, A., Kieser, J. | 2003

Fluctuating asymmetry and physical health among young adults

Evolution and Human Behavior, 2003, 24(24), 53-63.
Our ref: RO432

Show abstract » Fluctuating asymmetry (FA), the random deviations from perfect symmetry found in the bilateral structures of bilaterally symmetric organisms, has been inconsistently linked to health. In this study, the association between FA and an array of health measures was determined for a large (n=965) general population sample of 26-year-old men and women. FA was significantly associated with two health measures: body mass index (BMI), but only for females (more ASYMMETRIC=greater BMI), and number of medical conditions (asymmetric subjects were more likely to report they had two or more medical conditions). FA was not associated with waist/hip ratio, systolic blood pressure (BP), blood cholesterol, cardiorespiratory fitness, and periodontal disease. Two suggestions are offered for these results. The first is that, as a consequence of the association between developmental stability and low metabolism [Evol. Hum. Behav. 18 (1997) 15.], stable and unstable groups will differ on some health measures (e.g., BMI), but not those related to body maintenance (e.g., BP). The second is that because of the minimization of environmental stressors in Westernized societies, there is too much homogeneity in asymmetry among the population to detect differences within samples.
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Milne, B.J., Chalmers, S., Waldie, K.E., Darling, H., Poulton, R. | 2002

Effectiveness of a community-based truancy intervention: a pilot study

New Zealand Journal of Educational Studies, 2002, 37(37), 191-203.
Our ref: NZ86

Show abstract » This study assessed the effectiveness of a community-based intervention programme aimed at reintegrating youths back into school and improving problem behaviours and family functioning. Sixty-six youths (35 male, age range: 11 16 years) referred primarily for truancy, received an individualised intervention (lasting 6-13 months) which, for 31 youths, included mentoring. Pre- and post-intervention assessments included frequency of truancy, the Youth Self Report (YSR) and the Family Environment Scales (FES) (n=59). Results indicated that (a) the proportion of youths truanting persistently decreased from 82% to 37%, (b) males (particularly non-persistent truants) showed improvement on the YSR delinquency subscale; females improved on YSR delinquency, depression and aggression subscales, and (c) youths' FES conflict scores improved (particularly those who were assigned mentors). Drug use was related to improvements across all three domains, but in different ways (e.g., drug non-use was related to improvements in truancy while drug use was related to delinquency improvements). It is concluded that the intervention was partially successful. Its success may have been due to the multimodal and tailored nature of the program.
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Barbezat, G.O., Poulton, R., Milne, B.J., Howell, S., Fawcett, J.P., Talley, N. J. | 2002

Prevalence and correlates of irritable bowel symptoms in a New Zealand birth cohort

New Zealand Medical Journal, 2002, 115(115), U220.

Our ref: NZ85

Show abstract » Aim: To determine the prevalence and correlates of bowel symptoms and the irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in a birth cohort of young New Zealanders. Methods: Participants in the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study at age 26 completed a validated Bowel Disease Questionnaire expressing their experience of clearly defined symptoms over the previous 12 months. Results: 980 participants (499 male, 481 female, comprising 96% of the birth cohort) completed the questionnaire. Sixty four per cent had at least one of the measured symptoms; abdominal pain was reported in 46.5%, chronic constipation in 9.1%, and chronic diarrhoea in 17.1%. A diagnosis of IBS could be made by using two or more of Manning's diagnostic criteria in 18.8%, three or more criteria in 10.3%, and more than three in 3.3%. Symptoms were more than twice as frequent and severe in females than males. Conclusions: Bowel-related abdominal symptoms, including those required for a diagnosis of IBS are very common in 26-year-old New Zealanders; the prevalence of these symptoms is very similar to that recorded previously in Europe and the USA.
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Dickson, N., Wilson, M., Herbison, G.P., Paul, C. | 2002

Unwanted pregnancies involving young women and men in a New Zealand birth cohort

New Zealand Medical Journal, 2002, 115(115), 155-158.
Our ref: NZ84

Show abstract » Aims. To examine the circumstances of wanted and unwanted pregnancies before age 25 years for both women and men, and compare the circumstances of the most undesired pregnancies with all others. Methods. Cross-sectional study within a birth cohort using a computer-presented questionnaire. Results. Of the 477 women, 173 (36%) had been pregnant before age 25 years, and experienced 289 pregnancies of which 173 (60%) were unwanted. Of the 489 men, 142 (29%) reported 225 pregnancies before age 25, of which 165 (73%) were unwanted. By age 25 about a quarter of the study members (27% of women and 24% of men), had been involved in at least one unwanted pregnancy. Wantedness increased with age and length of relationship with the other parent; both factors remained significant in multivariate analysis for men, but not age for women. For women unwanted pregnancies were more likely to be due to non-use of contraception than failure. For both women and men the commonest single reason for not using contraception was not thinking about it, followed by alcohol use. Conclusions. An environment has emerged for men and women in their twenties in New Zealand where most are sexually active but do not want a pregnancy to occur. To delay pregnancy for a prolonged period requires dedication and commitment to effective contraception. While more attention needs to be paid to promotion of effective use of contraception, more understanding is called for over the difficulties of avoiding pregnancy with long-term reversible contraception. A further approach to the problem of unwanted pregnancies which should be investigated is to encourage committed sexual relationships.
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Robins, R.W., Caspi, A., Moffitt, T.E. | 2002

It's not just who you're with, it's who you are: Personality and relationship experiences across multiple relationships

Journal of Personality, 2002, 70(70), 925-964.
Our ref: RO442

Show abstract » The present study examined the influence of stable personality traits on romantic relationships using longitudinal data on a large, representative sample of young adults. Relationship experiences (quality, conflict, and abuse) showed relatively small mean–level changes over time and significant levels of rank–order stability, even across different relationship partners. Antecedent personality traits (assessed at age 18) predicted relationship experiences at age 26 and change in relationship experiences from age 21 to 26. Conversely, relationship experiences also predicted change in personality. Importantly, these findings generally held across relationship partners, suggesting that some people tend to be generally happy (or unhappy) across relationships, and this is due, in part, to stable individual differences in personality. Discussion focuses on the broader implications of the findings, in particular the need for relationship researchers to consider the importance of personality for why relationships thrive or fail and the need for personality researchers to consider the impact of relationship experiences on intraindividual personality development.
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Arseneault, L., Moffitt, T.E., Caspi, A., Taylor, A. | 2002

The targets of violence committed by young offenders with alcohol dependence, marijuana dependence and schizophrenia-spectrum disorders: findings from a birth cohort

Criminal Behavior and Mental Health, 2002, 12(12), 155-168.
Our ref: RO441

Show abstract » Background: Estimates of who is most at risk from violence by people with mental illness rest mainly on identified patient samples. This study, without such selection bias, examined the targets of violence committed by young adults with as-yet untreated alcohol dependence, marijuana dependence, or schizophrenia-spectrum disorders, to determine the extent to which their victims were co-residents or non-household members. Methods: In a total birth cohort of 21-year-olds (n = 956), past-year prevalence of alcohol dependence, marijuana dependence and schizophrenia-spectrum disorders were diagnosed using standardized DSM-III-R interviews. None of the people with schizophrenia-spectrum disorder has been hospitalized in the past year. Past-year violence and victim targets were measured using self-reports. Results: Compared with controls, cohort members with substance dependence or schizophrenia-spectrum disorders had higher prevalence and frequency rates of assault against co-residents, against non-household members, and also robbery and gang fights. Out of 39, five individuals with schizophrenia-spectrum disorder committed violent street crimes. Persons with substance dependence had similar proportions of violence against co-resident and non-household members, but persons with schizophrenia-spectrum disorders tended to victimize co-residents more than others. Conclusions: At the age when they are most likely to contribute to the community's violence burden, young untreated offenders with alcohol or marijuana dependence or with schizophrenia-spectrum disorders assault not only co-residents, but others as well, and commit violent street crimes. Families, schoolteachers and primary care physicians have an important potentially preventive role in early identification and treatment of the disorders.
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McGee, R., Prior, M., Williams, S.M., Smart, D., Sanson, A. | 2002

The long-term significance of teacher-rated hyperactivity and reading ability in childhood: findings from two longitudinal studies

Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 2002, 43(43), 1004-1017.
Our ref: RO431

Show abstract » Background: The aims of this study were twofold: first, to examine behavioural and academic outcomes of children with hyperactivity, using data from two longitudinal studies; and second, to examine comparable psychosocial outcomes for children with early reading difficulties. Methods: Measures of teacher-rated persistent hyperactivity, and reading ability obtained during early primary school were available for children from the Australian Temperament Project and the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study. Both samples were followed up to assess behavioural and academic outcomes during the adolescent and early adult years. Family background, antisocial behaviour and literacy were controlled in the first set of analyses to examine the influence of early hyperactivity. Results: There were strong linear relationships between early hyperactivity and later adverse outcomes. Adjustment for other childhood variables suggested that early hyperactivity was associated with continuing school difficulties, problems with attention and poor reading in adolescence. Early reading difficulties, after controlling for early hyperactivity, predicted continuing reading problems in high school and leaving school with no qualifications. Conclusions: The findings suggest that there are dual pathways from early inattentive behaviours to later inattention and reading problems, and from early reading difficulties to substantial impairments in later academic outcomes.
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Casswell, S., Pledger, M., Pratap, S. | 2002

Trajectories of drinking from 18 to 26: identification and prediction

Addiction, 2002, 97(97), 1427-1437.

Our ref: RO430

Show abstract » OBJECTIVE: To identify developmental trajectories of drinking between the ages of 18 and 26 years and to identify variables, amenable to policy influence, which predict these trajectories. DESIGN: Longitudinal data were analysed using latent class mixture modelling. SETTING: Participants were interviewed in a central location. PARTICIPANTS: Provincial city birth cohort, cross-national studies suggest findings are generalizable to other similar market economies. MEASUREMENTS: The frequency of drinking over the past year and the typical quantity consumed per drinking occasion were computed from five location-specific questions. Measures used to predict membership of trajectory groups were ease of access to alcohol, drinking on licensed premises, response to alcohol advertising, educational achievement, parental consumption, age of onset of regular drinking and living arrangements. RESULTS: Three trajectories of quantities consumed showed reduced consumption after age 21 but one trajectory showed marked increases. Three trajectories of frequency of drinking increased or remained stable over time. Access to licensed premises at age 18 had the most significant impact on membership of the trajectory groups and educational achievement had a significant impact on membership of the heavier quantity trajectory groups. Parental alcohol consumption, access to alcohol at 15 years, liking for alcohol advertising, living arrangement and age of onset of regular drinking also influenced trajectory membership. CONCLUSIONS: Quantity and frequency of drinking in adolescence and early adulthood had different trajectories. Membership of heavier drinking groups was affected by environmental influences which are subject to policy change, particularly that of earlier access to licensed premises. In a small group high-quantity consumption did not decrease at age 26.
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