Longitudinal Latent Cognitive Profiles and Psychosocial Well-being in Early Adolescence

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Purpose Engaging in exploratory risky behaviors and experiencing poor mental health during early adolescence are important markers for poor health during adulthood. Prior research suggests protective effects from cognition, but less is known about the associations between early childhood cognition and early adolescent psychosocial well-being, as identified by self-esteem, mental health, and exploratory risky behaviors. This article investigates the extent that early adolescent psychosocial well-being at the age of 11 years is associated with patterns of cognitive skills measured across the first decade of a child's life. Methods We used data collected from the four follow-up sweeps of the UK Millennium Cohort Study and utilized latent profile analysis to identify three discernible cognitive profiles (n = 16,899). Results We find cohort members in low-achieving profiles to be more likely to engage in exploratory risky behaviors—drinking, smoking, and antisocial conduct—and to have poor self-esteem and more problem behaviors, compared with their peers in high-achieving profiles. Socioeconomic and family psychosocial markers considerably attenuated these disadvantages. Conclusions Understanding which adolescents have adverse psychosocial well-being has implications for the prevention of chronic diseases and for clinical care and policy.




Zilanawala, A., Sacker, A., & Kelly, Y. (2017). Longitudinal Latent Cognitive Profiles and Psychosocial Well-being in Early Adolescence. Journal of Adolescent Health, 61(4), 493–500. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jadohealth.2017.05.008

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