Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 25, Issue 10, pp 2941–2953

Risk Factors for Internalizing and Externalizing Problems in the Preschool Years: Systematic Literature Review Based on the Child Behavior Checklist 1½–5

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10826-016-0456-z

Cite this article as:
Carneiro, A., Dias, P. & Soares, I. J Child Fam Stud (2016) 25: 2941. doi:10.1007/s10826-016-0456-z


Early childhood is a common period for the onset of internalizing and externalizing problems. Many are the risk factors that contribute to the emergence of these types of problems. Literature enhances the importance of viewing the child as part of a system, in order to better understand the origin, the trajectory and the impact of risk factors in child mental health in preschool age. The current systematic literature review aims to examine empirical evidence based on the Child Behavior Checklist 1½–5 for risk factors related to the presence of internalizing and externalizing problems in children aged between 3 and 6 years old. The literature review includes articles published from January 2001 to December 2014. Twenty-eight articles that attend to pre-established inclusion and exclusion criteria were reported throughout the review. In general, results indicate that risk factors for internalizing and externalizing problems in preschool age can be organized into three main groups of risks: environment factors, parental/parenting factors, and child factors. It is clear that frequently more than one risk related to the emergence of internalizing and externalizing problems in preschool age children are reported. It is also possible to note that are few risks factors consistently studied in this age, highlighting the need for further investigation.


Risk factors Preschool age CBCL 1½–5 Internalizing problems Externalizing problems 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexandra Carneiro
    • 1
    • 2
  • Pedro Dias
    • 2
    • 3
  • Isabel Soares
    • 1
  1. 1.School of PsychologyUniversity of MinhoBragaPortugal
  2. 2.Centro de Estudos em Desenvolvimento HumanoUniversidade Católica PortuguesaPortoPortugal
  3. 3.Faculdade de Educação e PsicologiaUniversidade Católica PortuguesaPortoPortugal

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