Connecting national survey data with DSM-IV criteria

Manfred H.M. Van Dulmen, Harold D. Grotevant, Nora Dunbar, Brent C. Miller, Bruce Bayley, Mathew Christensen, Xitao Fan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Purpose: To show how connections can be made among items in a nationally representative survey of adolescents and criteria for "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition" (DSM-IV) diagnoses. Methods: Data for this study came from the Wave I in-home interview of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health), a nationwide study of approximately 90,000 adolescents and their parents. Proxy variables were developed for four DSM-IV diagnoses based on Wave I survey questions: conduct disorder, alcohol abuse, cannabis abuse, and major depressive disorder (single episode). Prevalence rates, comorbidity rates, and detailed item analyses of these four constructs are reported. Results: Of the adolescents in the sample under study, 3.4% scored above the threshold for conduct disorder. For the alcohol abuse proxy 4.7% scored above the threshold, compared with 6.3% for the cannabis abuse proxy, and 1% scored above the threshold for major depressive disorder (single episode). Adolescents who scored above the threshold for conduct disorder were three times more likely to receive psychological counseling than adolescents who scored below the threshold for conduct disorder. The rates for alcohol abuse, cannabis abuse, and major depressive disorder (single episode) were 2.0, 3.0, and 5.0, respectively. Conclusions: The prevalence rates for the four constructs in the Add Health data set were generally lower or comparable to prevalence rates found in other epidemiological studies in which DSM-IV criteria were applied. The approach described in this study provides a way to identify adolescents who are likely at risk for the development of mental health problems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)475-481
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2002

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We gratefully acknowledge support provided by grant HD 36479 from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, to Brent C. Miller, P.I. We especially thank DenYelle Baete, Blaine Kirkpatrick, Matthew May, Reed Reichwald, and Sarah Scott who made key contributions to this paper. This research is based on data from the Add Health project, a program designed by J. Richard Udry (P.I.) and Peter Bearman, and funded by grant P01-HD31921 from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development to the Carolina Population Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, with cooperative funding participation by the National Center Institute; the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism; the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders; the National Institute on Drug Abuse; the National Institute of General Medical Sciences; the National Institute of Mental Health; the National Institute of Nursing Research; the Office of AIDS research, NIH; the Office of Research on Women’s Health, NIH; the Office of Population Affairs, DHHS; the National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, DHHS, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, DHHS; and the National Science Foundation. Persons interested in obtaining data files from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health should contact Add Health, Carolina Population Center, 123 West Franklin Street, Chapel Hill, NC 27516-3997 (E-mail

Copyright 2008 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Add Health
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Conduct disorder
  • DSM-IV
  • Depression
  • Measurement
  • Substance abuse
  • Survey data


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