In a large body of previous research, cross‐lagged panel models (CLPMs) have been used to provide empirical support for developmental models that posit a cascade from externalising‐to‐internalising problems. These developmental models, however, arguably refer to within‐person processes whereas CLPMs provide a difficult‐to‐interpret blend of within‐ and between‐ person effects.
We used autoregressive latent trajectory models with structured residuals (ALT‐SR) to evaluate whether there is evidence for externalising‐to‐internalising cascades at the within‐person level when disaggregating between‐ and within‐ person effects. We used eight waves of data (age 7–15) from the Zurich Project on Social Development from Childhood to Adulthood (z‐proso).
ALT‐SR fit better than the corresponding CLPMs. Using an ALT‐SR, we found evidence for externalising‐to‐internalising cascades, consistent with previous CLPM studies. However, we also found some evidence for effects in the ALT‐SR that were not apparent in the CLPM, including a negative effect of externalising on internalising problems in adolescence. In addition, a negative effect of internalising on externalising problems in adolescence was found in both the CLPM and ALT‐SR.
Within‐person results were largely consistent with previous evidence from CLPMs; however, at the within‐person level, externalising and internalising may negatively influence one another in adolescence.