Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp 215–227 | Cite as

The Stability of Child Problem Behaviors: A Longitudinal Analysis of Inner-City African American Children

  • Deborah J. Jones
  • Gregory Forehand


We focused on the stability of child problem behaviors in a sample of 124 low-income inner-city African American families. Internalizing and externalizing problems were assessed longitudinally across four years. Test-retest correlation coefficients indicated that the relative stability of both internalizing and externalizing problems over the four-year assessment was high for both child and mother reported variables. Partial support was obtained for absolute stability of child problem behavior as analyses of variance revealed that two of four variables of interest did not change significantly over time. Mother report of child problem behavior was more stable than child report, but gender of child or type of problem behavior (internalizing vs. externalizing) was not related to stability. Hierarchical multiple regression analyses revealed that the historical context of child problem behaviors is important to consider, as earlier problem behaviors accounted for unique variance in later problem behaviors, beyond that accounted for the most recent assessment.

stability adolescents behavior inner-city African American 


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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Deborah J. Jones
    • 1
  • Gregory Forehand
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyWest Virginia UniversityMorgantown
  2. 2.Department of Social WorkPortland State UniversityPortland

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