The initial aim of this project was to examine the relations between two assessment methodologies. The CBCL (Child Behavior Checklist) is a quantitative tool which scores behavior along a continuum within each of eight behavioral syndromes: Attention Problems, Aggressive Behavior, Delinquent Behavior, Conduct Problems, Oppositional Behavior, Withdrawn Behavior, Somatic Complaints, and Thought Problems. The DSM - IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual) is a categorical system of conceptualizing emotional and behavioral problems as discrete disorders. For example, this phase of the study included the prediction that a deviant score on Attention Problems of the CBCL (T-score >67) would also indicate the presence of an Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder according to the DSM. In fact, the data showed this particular relationship to be true 100% of the time. Currently, the data collection phase of the Vermont Family Genetic Study is underway. The primary hypothesis predicts siblings of children who are deviant on CBCL syndromes / meet a DSM diagnosis are at increased risk for the same emotional / behavioral problems compared to siblings of a control group. Potential participants are selected from a pool of patients seen either at the Center for Children Youth and Families or the Pediatric Clinic at the University Health Center, University of Vermont. Eligibility is determined by the availability of at least one biological parent, at least one full sibling between the ages of 6 - 18, age of the patient must be between 6 - 18, and deviance on the Attentional Problems, Aggressive Behavior, both, or neither of these syndromes on the CBCL. Parents are contacted by telephone and invited to participate. The study consists of two parts: completing several questionnaires, and a two hour visit during which parents are interviewed in person about their children's behavior, and children are administered a brief battery of cognitive tests in order to rule out learning disabilities or developmental delay. Parents are given the option of coming in to the Clinical Research Center at Fletcher Allen Hospital or be provided with a home visit. Saliva for genetic testing is obtained at the time of the visit. The main implication of this study is to develop more accurate and efficient diagnostic methodology to ensure early intervention of common childhood emotional and behavioral problems.

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University of Vermont & St Agric College
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