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Dimensions of Oppositionality in a Brazilian Community Sample: Testing the DSM-5 Proposal and Etiological Links

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Fernanda Valle Krieger, Guilherme Vanoni Polanczyk, Robert Goodman, Luis Augusto Rohde, Ana Soledade Graeff-Martins, Giovanni Salum, Ary Gadelha, Pedro Pan, Daniel Stahl, Argyris Stringaris

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)389-400.e1
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2013


King's Authors


Objective: Investigating dimensions of oppositional symptoms may help to explain heterogeneity of etiology and outcomes for mental disorders across development and provide further empirical justification for the DSM-5-proposed modifications of oppositional defiant disorder (ODD). However, dimensions of oppositionality have not previously been tested in samples outside Europe or the United States. In this study, we used a large Brazilian community sample to compare the fit of different models for dimensions of oppositional symptoms; to examine the association of psychiatric diagnoses and symptoms with dimensions of oppositionality; and to examine the associations between dimensions of oppositionality and parental history of mental disorders. Method: A Brazilian community sample of 2,512 children 6 through 12 years old were investigated in this study. Confirmatory factorial analyses were performed to compare the fit of alternative models, followed by linear and logistic regression analyses of associations with psychiatric diagnosis and parental history of psychopathology. Results: A three-factor model with irritable, headstrong, and hurtful dimensions fitted best. The irritable dimension showed a strong association with emotional disorders in the child (p <.001) and history of depression (p <.01) and suicidality (p <.05) in the mother. The headstrong dimension was uniquely associated with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in the child (p <.001) and with maternal history of ADHD symptoms (p <.05). The hurtful dimension was specifically associated with conduct disorder (p <.05). Conclusions: Our findings from a large community sample of Brazilian children support a distinction between dimensions of oppositionality consistent with current DSM-5 recommendations and provide further evidence for etiological distinctions between these dimensions.

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