Empirically Derived Subtypes of Youth Withdrawn Behavior Across Eight Years: A Latent Class and Latent Transition Analysis

Meghan C. Schreck*, Jan Van der Ende, James J. Hudziak, Frank C. Verhulst, David H. Rubin, Robert R. Althoff

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Withdrawn behavior is present in many psychological problems and it is often used interchangeably with other psychological constructs, making accurate classification difficult. In an effort to better understand the classification and developmental course of withdrawn behavior in youth, the current study used parent-report to assess 649 Dutch youth at three time points across eight years, using the Withdrawn/Depressed (W/D) scale of the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL). Mean age of participants at each time point are 7.52 (Wave 1), 11.77 (Wave 2), and 15.53 (Wave 3) years. Latent class analysis and latent transition analysis was employed to empirically derive distinct subclasses of withdrawn youth and to examine how these youth transition between classes over time. Most youth fell within a low symptom class (Time 1 = 79.4%, Time 2 = 79.2%, Time 3 = 68.5%). A shy/secretive class also emerged (Time 1 = 20.6%, Time 2 = 20.8%, Time 3 = 31.5%). For girls, the interpretation of the shy/secretive class changed at Time 3 (e.g., ages 14–17 years), such that the majority of girls in this class also exhibited depressed mood. The majority of youth remained in the same class over time. This study used a model-based person-centered approach to derive classes of withdrawn behavior over time. The W/D subscale could be used as a brief screening tool for early detection of the shy/secretive behavioral phenotype, which may be a risk factor for later psychopathology. It is recommended that future studies identify predictors of class transition and investigate whether withdrawn classes predict diagnostic outcome.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1736-1751
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Child and Family Studies
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 21 May 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
F.C.V. is a contributing author of the Achenbach System of Empirically Based Assessment (ASEBA), from which he receives remuneration. R.R.A. receives grant or research support from the National Institute of Mental Health and the Klingenstein Third Generation Foundation. He has received honoraria from Oakstone Medical Publishing for CME presentations. He has received research funds from and has been employed, in part, by the nonprofit Research Center for Children, Youth, and Families that develops the Child Behavior Checklist. He is a partner of WISER Systems, LLC. J.J.H. has received grant or research support from the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease. His primary appointment is with the University of Vermont. He has additional appointments with Erasmus University in Rotterdam, Netherlands, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri, Dartmouth School of Medicine in Hanover, New Hampshire, and Avera Institute of Human Behavioral Genetics in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Funding Information:
This research was supported in part by grants K08MH082116 from the National Institute of Mental Health and P20GM103644 from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.


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