Are there stable factors in preadolescent girls' externalizing behaviors?

Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh, 3811 O'Hara St., Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.
Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology (Impact Factor: 3.09). 06/2009; 37(6):777-91. DOI: 10.1007/s10802-009-9320-6
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Relatively little is known about the factor structure of disruptive behavior among preadolescent girls. The present study reports on exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses of disruptive girl behavior over four successive data waves as rated by parents and teachers in a large, representative community sample of girls (N = 2,451). Five factors were identified from parent ratings (oppositional behavior/conduct problems, inattention, hyperactivity/impulsivity, relational aggression, and callous-unemotional behaviors), and four factors were identified derived from teacher ratings (oppositional behavior/conduct problems/callous-unemotional behaviors, inattention, hyperactivity/impulsivity, and relational aggression). There was a high degree of consistency of items loading on equivalent factors across parent and teacher ratings. Year-to-year stability of factors between ages five and 12 was high for parent ratings (ICC = 0.70 to 0.88), and slightly lower for teacher ratings (ICC = 0.56 to 0.83). These findings are discussed in terms of possible adjustment to the criteria for children's disruptive behavior disorders found in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders.

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Although personality disorder characteristics are often grouped with externalizing problems in adults, little is known about the extent to which they define the externalizing spectrum in youth. We examined the extent to which personality pathology traits in youth reflected common and specific variance in externalizing problems and explored differentiation of these connections by age. Parents reported on physical aggression, rule-breaking, relational aggression, and personality pathology traits for 1080 youth (48.8% male) ages 6-18 years. Disagreeableness and emotional instability traits were correlated with a general externalizing factor as well as with specific behavioral subfactors. The magnitude of these correlations varied across age, with the highest magnitude evidenced during the developmental periods of greatest prevalence for the specific externalizing behavior subtype. Taken together, these findings suggest that personality pathology is tightly connected with externalizing problems in youth, especially during developmental periods when externalizing problems are common.
    Journal of Adolescence 11/2013; · 2.05 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This study sought to replicate the results of our earlier study, which were published in this Journal (Willoughby et. al 2011), that used mother-reported items from the Achenbach System of Empirically Based Assessment to develop a screening measure of callous unemotional (CU) behaviors for use with preschool-aged children. We further sought to extend those results by exploring the predictive validity of the CU measure with aggression trajectories in early-/mid-childhood. The current study involved secondary data analysis of the NICHD Study of Early Childhood and Youth Development (NICHD-SECCYD) dataset. Factor analyses included N = 1176 children who participated in the age 3 year assessment of the NICHD-SECCYD. Predictive models included N = 1081 children for whom four of the six possible teacher ratings of aggressive behavior were available from annual assessments spanning 1(st)-6(th) grades. Consistent with prior work, a three-factor confirmatory factor model, which differentiated CU from oppositional defiant (ODD) and attention deficit/hyperactive-impulsive (ADHD) behaviors, provided the best fit to the data. Among children with disorganized attachment status, the combination of high levels of mother-rated ODD behaviors and CU behaviors, was predictive of stable elevated levels of teacher-rated aggression from 1(st)-6(th) grade (predicted probability = .38, compared with a base rate of .07). These results demonstrate that CU behaviors can be reliably measured by parent report in young children and are dissociable from more commonly assessed dimensions of disruptive behavior. Three-year-old children who exhibit elevated levels of ODD and CU behaviors, and who have disorganized attachments, are at increased risk for exhibiting elevated levels of aggression across middle childhood. Results are discussed from the perspective of early assessment and intervention.
    Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment 03/2014; 36(1):30-42. · 1.55 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Recent research has suggested that the presence of significant levels of callous-unemotional (CU) traits designates a clinically important and etiologically distinct subgroup of children and adolescents with serious conduct problems. Based on this research, CU traits have been included in the most recent revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders - 5th Edition (DSM-5; American Psychiatric Association, 2013) - as a specifier for the diagnosis of conduct disorder. In this review, we attempt to understand CU traits within a developmental psychopathological framework. Specifically, we summarize research on the normal development of the prosocial emotions of empathy and guilt (i.e., conscience) and we illustrate how the development of CU traits can be viewed as the normal development of conscience gone awry. Furthermore, we review research on the stability of CU traits across different developmental periods and highlight factors that can influence this stability. Finally, we highlight the implications of this developmental psychopathological framework for future etiological research, for assessment and diagnostic classification, and for treatment of children with serious conduct problems.
    Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 10/2013; · 5.42 Impact Factor


Available from