Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 46, Issue 5, pp 935–950 | Cite as

Mapping the Growth of Heterogeneous Forms of Externalizing Problem Behavior Between Early Childhood and Adolescence:A Comparison of Parent and Teacher Ratings

  • Sheryl L. OlsonEmail author
  • Pamela Davis-Kean
  • Meichu Chen
  • Jennifer E. Lansford
  • John E. Bates
  • Gregory S. Pettit
  • Kenneth A. Dodge


We compared long-term growth patterns in teachers’ and mothers’ ratings of Overt Aggression, Covert Aggression, Oppositional Defiance, Impulsivity/inattention, and Emotion Dysregulation across developmental periods spanning kindergarten through grade 8 (ages 5 to 13 years). We also determined whether salient background characteristics and measures of child temperament and parenting risk differentially predicted growth in discrete categories of child externalizing symptoms across development. Participants were 549 kindergarten-age children (51% male; 83% European American; 17% African American) whose problem behaviors were rated by teachers and parents each successive year of development through 8th grade. Latent growth curve analyses were performed for each component scale, contrasting with an overall index of externalizing, in a piecewise fashion encompassing two periods of development: K-1and grades 1–8. Our findings showed that there were meaningful differences and similarities between informants in their levels of concern about specific forms of externalizing problems, patterns of change in problem behavior reports across development, and in the extent to which their ratings of specific problems were associated with distal and proximal covariates. Thus, these data provided novel information about issues that have received scant empirical attention and have important implications for understanding the development and prevention of children’s long-term externalizing problems.


Externalizing problems Parent-teacher Growth patterns Gender Ethnicity SES 



We are grateful to the individuals who have participated in this research.


This project was possible due to funding provided by the National Science Foundation (NSF) for the Development of Learning Sciences-Integrative Research Activities for Developmental Science grant (CAPCA Center) to the University of Michigan (BCS-0818478). The Child Development Project has been funded by grants MH42498, MH56961, MH57024, and MH57095 from the National Institute of Mental Health, HD30572 from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and DA016903 from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Kenneth A. Dodge is supported by Senior Scientist award 2 K05 DA015226 from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Supplementary material

10802_2018_407_MOESM1_ESM.docx (104 kb)
Supplemental Table 1 (DOCX 104 kb)
10802_2018_407_MOESM2_ESM.docx (44 kb)
Supplemental Table 2 (DOCX 44 kb)
10802_2018_407_MOESM3_ESM.docx (47 kb)
Supplemental Table 3 (DOCX 47 kb)


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  2. 2.Duke UniversityDurhamUSA
  3. 3.Indiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA
  4. 4.Auburn UniversityAuburnUSA

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