Volume 12, Issue 3 (1983)
A Syndromic Typology for Analyzing School Children's Disturbed Social Behavior
Paul A. McDermott
ABSTRACT: Recent proposals for the classification of child behavior disorders reflect the belief that a multi-axial or multidimensional approach will afford a more accurate representation of the distinct types and intensities of maladjustment manifested by children. Ordinarily, efforts to approximate a multidimensional solution through empirical techniques go no further than the stage where children are measured against factorially verified syndromes describing similar behavioral indicators under rubrics such as “aggression”, “anxiety”, and the like. However, when children demonstrate significant maladaptive behavior, it is associated most often with problems on more than one dimension of behavior; hence, multi syndromic maladjustment is typical. A more advanced system of classification would draw upon the simultaneous variations of maladjustment syndromes, and would identify and describe homogeneous clusters of multisyndromic profiles as bases for an empirical typology. To this end, syndrome scores for the normative school-age population of the revised Bristol Social Adjustment Guides (N = 2,527; ages 5 through 15)were grouped according to sequential hierarchical cluster analyses. Sixteen homogeneous syndromic profile types emerged and were analyzed and interpreted by prevalence, pattern and level of maladjustment, component behaviors, membership trends by sex and age, and relation to the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM-III. To facilitate application of the typology, the standardized Bristol Social Adjustment Profile is introduced and demonstrated for differential classification of disordered behavior in school-age children.
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