Trajectories of pure and co-occurring internalizing and externalizing problems from age 2 to age 12: Findings from the national institute of child health and human development study of early child care
AuthorFanti, Kostas A.
Henrich, Christopher C.
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How and why do internalizing and externalizing problems, psychopathological problems from different diagnostic classes representing separate forms of psychopathology, co-occur in children? We investigated the development of pure and co-occurring internalizing and externalizing problems from ages 2 to 12 with the use of latent class growth analysis. Furthermore, we examined how early childhood factors (temperament, cognitive functioning, maternal depression, and home environment) and early adolescent social and behavioral adjustment variables were related to differential trajectories of pure and co-occurring internalizing and externalizing problems. The sample (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Study of Early Child Care) consisted of 1,232 children (52% male). Mother reports on the Child Behavior Checklist (Achenbach, 1991, 1992) were used to construct the trajectories of externalizing and internalizing problems. Analyses identified groups of children exhibiting pure and co-occurring internalizing and externalizing problems. Children exhibiting continuous externalizing or continuous co-occurring internalizing and externalizing problems across the 10-year period under investigation were more likely to (a) engage in risky behaviors, (b) be associated with deviant peers, (c) be rejected by peers, and (d) be asocial with peers at early adolescence. However, children exhibiting pure internalizing problems over time were only at higher risk for being asocial with peers as early adolescents. Moreover, the additive effects of individual and environmental early childhood risk factors influenced the development of chronic externalizing problems, although pure internalizing problems were uniquely influenced by maternal depression. Results also provided evidence for the concepts of equifinality and multifinality. © 2010 American Psychological Association.
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