Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 40, Issue 5, pp 727–739 | Cite as

Cumulative Effects of Mothers’ Risk and Promotive Factors on Daughters’ Disruptive Behavior

  • Elsa van der Molen
  • Alison E. Hipwell
  • Robert Vermeiren
  • Rolf Loeber


Little is known about the ways in which the accumulation of maternal factors increases or reduces risk for girls’ disruptive behavior during preadolescence. In the current study, maternal risk and promotive factors and the severity of girls’ disruptive behavior were assessed annually among girls’ ages 7–12 in an urban community sample (N = 2043). Maternal risk and promotive factors were operative at different time points in girls’ development. Maternal warmth explained variance in girls’ disruptive behavior, even after controlling for maternal risk factors and relevant child and neighborhood factors. In addition, findings supported the cumulative hypothesis that the number of risk factors increased the chance on girls’ disruptive behavior disorder (DBD), while the number of promotive factors decreased this probability. Daughters of mothers with a history of Conduct Disorder (CD) were exposed to more risk factors and fewer promotive factors compared to daughters of mothers without prior CD. The identification of malleable maternal factors that can serve as targets for intervention has important implications for intergenerational intervention. Cumulative effects show that the focus of prevention efforts should not be on single factors, but on multiple factors associated with girls’ disruptive behavior.


Girls Disruptive behavior Cumulative hypothesis Risk factors Promotive factors 



This study was supported by grants from the National Institute of Mental Health (MH 56630, MH071790) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (DA012237). In addition, it was supported by travel grants from the Leiden University Fund and the foundation ‘Stichting de Drie Lichten’. Point of views or opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elsa van der Molen
    • 1
    • 3
  • Alison E. Hipwell
    • 2
  • Robert Vermeiren
    • 1
  • Rolf Loeber
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Child- and Adolescent PsychiatryLeiden University Medical CentreLeidenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Western Psychiatric Institute & ClinicUniversity of Pittsburgh Medical CenterPittsburghUSA
  3. 3.Curium-LUMCLeidenThe Netherlands

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