, Volume 39, Issue 8, pp 953-966
Date: 18 Aug 2009

Predicting Negative Life Outcomes from Early Aggressive–Disruptive Behavior Trajectories: Gender Differences in Maladaptation Across Life Domains

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Abstract

Transactional theories of development suggest that displaying high levels of antisocial behavior early in life and persistently over time causes disruption in multiple life domains, which in turn places individuals at risk for negative life outcomes. We used longitudinal data from 1,137 primarily African American urban youth (49.1% female) to determine whether different trajectories of aggressive and disruptive behavior problems were associated with a range of negative life outcomes in young adulthood. General growth mixture modeling was used to classify the youths’ patterns of aggressive–disruptive behavior across elementary school. These trajectories were then used to predict early sexual activity, early pregnancy, school dropout, unemployment, and drug abuse in young adulthood. The trajectories predicted the number but not type of negative life outcomes experienced. Girls with the chronic high aggression–disruption (CHAD) pattern experienced more negative outcomes than girls with consistently moderate levels, who were at greater risk than nonaggressive–nondisruptive girls. Boys with CHAD and boys with an increasing pattern had equal levels of risk for experiencing negative outcomes. The findings are consistent with transactional models of development and have implications for preventive interventions.