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.

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    ABSTRACT: It is widely recognized that early onset of disruptive behavior is linked to a variety of detrimental outcomes in males, later in life. In contrast, little is known about the association between girls' childhood trajectories of disruptive behavior and adjustment problems in early adolescence.
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    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.
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