, Volume 22, Issue 2, pp 147-166

Hard-to-manage preschool boys: Externalizing behavior, social competence, and family context at two-year followup

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Boys, identified as hard to manage in preschool, were followed up 2 years after initial assessment. Mothers, fathers, and teachers continued to rate hard-to-manage boys as having more problems with attention and impulse control, and as more oppositional, than comparison boys who had been problem-free at intake; problem boys also were rated as less socially competent by all three informants. Differences in severity were apparent as a function of initial referral source. Boys identified as showing significant problems by at least two informants (28% of the problem boys) were especially low in social competence and their mothers reported more symptoms of depression and parenting stress. Family adversity, lower IQ, and severity of symptoms at intake discriminated boys with continuing problems from those with less serious difficulties at followup. Control boys with potentially emerging problems were characterized by more family problems than the remaining control boys. Implications for the development of problems in young children are discussed.

The research reported in this paper was supported by NIMH grant No. R01 32735. Special appreciation is expressed to the parents, children, and teachers who cooperated in this work. Thanks are due to the many graduate students and research staff who worked on this project, including Clea Angell, Linda Ewing, Clare Flanagan, Patricia Huszar, Andrea Lurier, Cynthia March, Sarah McAuliffe, Teri Meyers, Elizabeth Pierce, and Emily Szumowski.