To evaluate the Preschool Feeling Checklist (PFC) utility for predicting later mental disorders and functioning for children and assess whether the PFC’s predictive utility differs as a function of childhood poverty.
We analyzed data from a prospective longitudinal study of preschoolers in St. Louis. Preschoolers (N=287) were recruited from primary care sites and were annually assessed for 10-15 years. The PFC screened for depressive symptoms. Later age-appropriate psychiatric diagnostic interviews were used to derive DSM diagnoses. Regression and moderation analyses, and multilevel modeling were used to test the association between the PFC and later outcomes, and whether this relationship was moderated by income-to-needs.
The PFC predicted MDD (OR: 1.13, p<.001), ADHD (OR: 1.16, p<.001) and Mania (OR: 1.18, p<.05) in adolescence and early adulthood. Income-to-needs was a moderator in the predictive pathway between the PFC and later MDD (OR: 1.10, p<.05) and Mania (OR: 1.19, p<.001) with the measure less predictive for children living in poverty. The PFC predicted worse functioning by the final assessment (b = 1.71, SE = 0.51, p = .001).
The PFC served as an indicator of risk for later ADHD and impairment in all children. It has predictive utility for later mood disorders only in children living above the poverty line. Predicting depression in children living below the poverty line may require consideration of risk factors not covered by the PFC.

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