Category: Child / Adolescent - Externalizing

Symposium

Symposium 34 - Irritability in Children and Adolescents: Treatment Needs and Mechanisms for Change

Friday, November 17
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
Location: Cobalt 501, Level 5, Cobalt Level

Keywords: Anger / Irritability | Child Externalizing | Change Process / Mechanisms
Presentation Type: Symposium

Recent evidence has shown irritability to be an important transdiagnostic problem affecting children and adolescents (Evans et al., 2017; Leibenluft, 2011; Stringaris & Goodman, 2015). Irritability is associated with over a dozen psychological conditions affecting youth, with important developmental and clinical implications. For example, irritability helps explain why some youth with externalizing problems subsequently develop affective problems such as anxiety and depression (Burke et al., 2005, 2010; Burke, 2012; Loth et al., 2014; Vidal-Ribas et al., 2017). In the context of depression, irritability has been linked to greater severity, comorbidity, impairment, and lifetime persistence (Fava et al., 2010). Converging lines of research suggest that chronic irritability may identify a population of youth who follow different trajectories from others with ADHD and ODD (though they often have these diagnoses), and are not likely to have bipolar disorder (Evans et al., 2017). Such research has led to the inclusion of Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder in DSM-5 (Leibenluft, 2011) and a proposal for a subtype, ODD with chronic irritability anger in the forthcoming ICD-11 (Lochman et al., 2015).

Despite these advances in the understanding and diagnosis of youth irritability, very little is known about effective treatment of this problem (Evans et al., 2017). Indeed, what is known about interventions for youth irritability is largely based on inductive extrapolations from treatment research for similar conditions (e.g., aggression, anger) or research syndromes such as severe mood dysregulation (Stringaris & Goodman, 2015; Sukhodolsky et al., 2016; Tourian et al., 2015). While these are reasonable starting points, there remains a critical need for new clinically relevant research specifically targeting the treatment needs of irritable youth.

In this symposium, we present new data with the aim of advancing intervention research and services for irritable youth. The first two presentations address the need for and avenues to treatment, while the last two propose possible treatment mechanisms. First, Freeman et al. examine the irritable and noncompliant symptoms of ODD in relation to quality of life among chidren and adolescents. Second, Johnston and Burke explore how these ODD symptom dimensions are associated with parental mental health service seeking. Third, Blossom et al. consider the role of negative self-talk in the link between emotion reactivity (a construct closely related to irritability) and anxiety and depression in adolescents. Fourth, Evans et al. consider several possible cognitive-behavioral mechanisms by which irritability may contribute to internalizing and externalizing problems. Lastly, discussant Jeffrey Burke, a leading expert in youth irritability, will synthesize these findings and offer recommendations to advance research and treatment for irritable youth.

Learning Objectives:

Spencer C. Evans

Doctoral Candidate
University of Kansas

Presentation(s):

Send Email for Spencer Evans

Jeffrey D. Burke

Associate Professor
University of Connecticut

Presentation(s):

    Send Email for Jeffrey Burke

    Oliver G. Johnston

    Doctoral Candidate
    University of Connecticut

    Presentation(s):

    Send Email for Oliver Johnston

    Andrew J. Freeman

    Assistant Professor of Psychology
    University of Nevada, Las Vegas

    Presentation(s):

    Send Email for Andrew Freeman

    Jennifer Blossom

    Doctoral Candidate
    Clinical Child Psychology Program University of Kansas

    Presentation(s):

    Send Email for Jennifer Blossom

    Spencer C. Evans

    Doctoral Candidate
    University of Kansas

    Presentation(s):

    Send Email for Spencer Evans


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