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01-04-2009 | Uitgave 3/2009

Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 3/2009

A Quasi-Experimental Analysis of the Association Between Family Income and Offspring Conduct Problems

Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology > Uitgave 3/2009
Brian M. D’Onofrio, Jackson A. Goodnight, Carol A. Van Hulle, Joseph Lee Rodgers, Paul J. Rathouz, Irwin D. Waldman, Benjamin B. Lahey
Belangrijke opmerkingen
This research was supported by grant R01-MH070025 to Benjamin B. Lahey. The research was approved by the Institutional Review Board at Indiana University.
Resubmitted to the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology on April 21, 2008 and October 20, 2008.


The study presents a quasi-experimental analysis of data on 9,194 offspring (ages 4–11 years old) of women from a nationally representative U.S. sample of households to test the causal hypotheses about the association between family income and childhood conduct problems (CPs). Comparison of unrelated individuals in the sample indicated a robust inverse association, with the relation being larger at higher levels of income and for male offspring, even when statistical covariates were included to account for measured confounds that distinguish different families. Offspring also were compared to their siblings and cousins who were exposed to different levels of family income in childhood to rule out unmeasured environmental and genetic factors confounded with family income as explanations for the association. In these within-family analyses, boys exposed to lower family income still exhibited significantly higher levels of CPs. When considered in the context of previous studies using different designs, these results support the inference that family income influences CPs, particularly in males, through causal environmental processes specifically related to earnings within the nuclear family.

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