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Symptoms of Anxiety and Depression in Early Adolescence: A Multitrait-Multimethod Factor Analytic Approach

Evalill Bolstad Karevold

Purpose: The overall aim wasto examine the construct validity of parent- and selfreported symptoms of anxiety and depression in a Norwegian population-based sample of 12-13 year old adolescents (N=594).

Methods: A Multitrait-Multimethod (MTMM) design with Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) was used to differentiate reported variance into trait, method and unique variance, and to determine the validity of the measures in question.

Results: The results demonstrated good structural validity and measurement invariance between mother- and child-reported scales, with relatively high mother-child agreement. Latent factors of anxiety and depression were correlated highly, but were not completely overlapping constructs. ThThe Thee MTMM analysis showed high levels of trait variance in all measures.

Conclusions: Short symptom scales can be useful tools for examining adolescent anxiety and depression. The impact and importance of structural validity, measurement invariance and using multiple informants in the assessment of adolescent anxiety and depression symptoms are underscored.

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