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Childhood predictors of adult mental disorders: implications for prevention


Hemamali Perera

University of Colombo, LK
About Hemamali
Professor in Psychiatry, Department of Psychological Medicine, Faculty of Medicine
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Longitudinal studies have in the past few years made major contribution to understanding the continuity of childhood mental and behavioural disorders into adulthood. Four themes that predict this childhood to adult continuity are identifiable. Certain temperamental and behavioural traits that are recognizable even at a very young age is known to predict antisocial behaviour later in life. Also, presenting psychopathology in childhood disorders determines the likely psychopathology in adulthood. Common childhood disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and autism spectrum disorder though persistent are often misdiagnosed in adults due to the symptom profile being different to that in children. Finally, psychosocial adversities in childhood predict psychopathology in adulthood. Although such knowledge provides valuable insights, efforts on prevention are hampered by poor understanding about mediating factors that determine persistence of disorders. Nevertheless, evidence based early interventions have proven to have some efficacy in reducing childhood impairments that may otherwise persist into adulthood.


Sri Lanka Journal of Psychiatry Vol 4(1) June 2013 Page 1-2

How to Cite: Perera, H., 2013. Childhood predictors of adult mental disorders: implications for prevention. Sri Lanka Journal of Psychiatry, 4(1), pp.1–2. DOI:
Published on 30 Jun 2013.
Peer Reviewed


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