A “Dysregulation Profile” defined by elevated scores on the ASEBA Anxious/Depressed, Attention Problems, and Aggressive Behavior syndromes has been identified in multiple studies. Deutz et al. (2016) analyzed mothers’ and fathers’ CBCL ratings and teachers’ TRF ratings of 697 children living in Flanders, the Dutch-speaking region of Belgium, at a mean age of 7.9 years. Six years later, CBCL ratings from both parents, TRF ratings, and YSR ratings were obtained for the same participants at a mean age of 13.9 years. Using bifactor analysis, Deutz et al. found that ratings by each type of informant at both ages fit a model that included separate Anxious/Depressed, Attention Problems, and Aggressive Behavior factors, plus a general Dysregulation factor.
The authors concluded that the Dysregulation Profile “is best conceptualized as a broad dysregulation syndrome, which exists over and above anxiety/depression, aggression, and attention problems” (p. 431). Dysregulation factor scores that were computed from mothers’ CBCL ratings, fathers’ CBCL ratings, and adolescents’ YSR ratings all correlated significantly with the mean of adolescents’ self-ratings on the YSR self-harm and suicidal ideation items (to avoid criterion contamination, scores for the two YSR items were omitted from the adolescents’ Dysregulation factor scores).
Because the CBCL and YSR Anxious/Depressed, Attention Problems, and Aggressive Behavior factor scores were not significantly correlated with the self-harm/suicidal ideation scores, the Dysregulation dimension common to the three syndromes –more than any of the specific syndromes themselves — appears to indicate elevated risks for suicidality.
Deutz, M.H.F., Geeraerts, S.B., van Baar, A.L., Dekovic, M., & Prinzie, P. (2016) The Dysregulation Profile in middle childhood and adolescence across reporters: Factor structure, measurement invariance, and links with self-harm and suicidal ideation. European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 25, 431-442.