Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 36, Issue 1, pp 41–53 | Cite as

Links Between Life Course Trajectories of Family Dysfunction and Anxiety During Middle Childhood

  • Linda S. PaganiEmail author
  • Christa Japel
  • Tracy Vaillancourt
  • Sylvana Côté
  • Richard E. Tremblay


Using data from three waves of a large Canadian data set, we examine the relationship between two middle childhood trajectory variables, family dysfunction and anxiety. We draw upon family systems theory and developmental psychopathology, while attempting to expand their boundaries by capitalizing on the strengths within both approaches. Our data treatment strategy, guided by the life course analytical framework, included separate multivariate logits to examine this relationship, with and without the extent to, which selected explanatory risk variables predicted belonging to the highest family dysfunction trajectory. We also explored possible interactions between anxiety and explanatory risk variables. Supporting our hypothesis, a prolonged duration of high doses of family dysfunction was associated with the most extreme developmental trajectories of anxious behavior during middle childhood for both boys and girls. This relationship prevailed above and beyond the influence of other correlates of family dysfunction such as marital transition, socioeconomic status, family size, and depressive symptoms experienced by the informant (mostly mothers).


Childhood anxiety Family dysfunction Middle childhood Family functioning 



This research was supported by the Applied Research Branch of Human Resources Development Canada, SSHRC, and FCAR. Our special thanks go to Aletha Huston and Marika Ripke for their input on earlier versions of the project that inspired this paper, and Alain Girard and Abdel Farhat for advising and conducting the required analyses at the Quebec Center for Social Statistics, respectively.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Linda S. Pagani
    • 1
    Email author
  • Christa Japel
    • 2
  • Tracy Vaillancourt
    • 3
  • Sylvana Côté
    • 1
  • Richard E. Tremblay
    • 1
  1. 1.Université de MontréalMontréalCanada
  2. 2.Université du Québec à MontréalMontréalCanada
  3. 3.McMaster UniversityOntarioCanada

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