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Positive attributes in children and reduced risk of future psychopathology

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-25
Number of pages9
JournalBritish Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2015


King's Authors


Background: There is little research on children's positive attributes and their association with psychiatric outcomes.

Aims: To examine the hypothesis that children's positive attributes are associated with a reduced risk of developing psychopathology in future.

Method: Positive attributes, measured with the Youth Strengths Inventory (YSI) and psychiatric outcomes were assessed on two occasions over 3 years in a large epidemiological sample of British children and adolescents (n = 5325).

Results: The YSI showed high to moderate cross-informant correlations and longitudinal stability. Children scoring high on positive attributes at baseline had fewer psychiatric symptoms and disorders at follow-up, adjusting for symptoms at baseline, disorder at baseline and child and family factors. Analyses with propensity score matching also suggested that positive attributes decrease the likelihood of psychiatric morbidity.

Conclusions: Children's positive attributes are associated with significantly less psychopathology across time and may be a target for intervention..

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