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01-11-2008 | Uitgave 8/2008

Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 8/2008

Family Intervention Effects on Co-occurring Early Childhood Behavioral and Emotional Problems: A Latent Transition Analysis Approach

Research on Child and Adolescent Psychopathology > Uitgave 8/2008
Arin Connell, Bernadette Marie Bullock, Thomas J. Dishion, Daniel Shaw, Melvin Wilson, Frances Gardner


This study used latent transition analysis (LTA) to examine changes in early emotional and behavioral problems in children age 2 to 4 years resulting from participation in a family-centered intervention. A sample of 731 economically disadvantaged families was recruited from among participants in a national food supplement and nutrition program. Families with toddlers between age 2 and 3 were randomized either to the Family Check-Up (FCU) or to a nonintervention control group. The FCU’s linked interventions were tailored to each family’s needs. Assessments occurred at age 2, 3, and 4. The FCU followed age 2 and age 3 assessments. Latent class analyses were conducted on mother reports of behavior and emotional problems from age 2 to 4 to study transitions among the following four groups: (a) externalizing only, (b) internalizing only, (c) comorbid internalizing and externalizing, and (d) normative. LTA results revealed that participation in the FCU increased the likelihood of transitioning from either the comorbid or the internalizing class into the normative class by age 4. These results suggest family interventions in early childhood can potentially disrupt the early emergence of both emotional and behavioral problems.

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