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10-08-2020 | Original Article

Identifying the Contributions of Maternal Factors and Early Childhood Externalizing Behavior on Adolescent Delinquency

Child Psychiatry & Human Development
Adam T. Schmidt, Joshua S. Camins, Craig E. Henderson, Maxwell R. Christensen, Melissa S. Magyar, James W. Crosby, Marcus T. Boccaccini
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Adam T. Schmidt and Joshua S. Camins have contributed equally to this work.

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We examined whether childhood externalizing group subtypes were uniquely related to maternal depression and victimization and whether these subtypes differentially predicted adolescent delinquency. Data were drawn from the Longitudinal Study on Child Abuse and Neglect (LONGSCAN) consortium (N = 1091; 51.3% female, 52.2% African American). Latent class analysis indicated three groups at age 4 (titled “well-adjusted,” “hyperactive/oppositional,” and “aggressive/rule-breaking”). Caregiver victimization and depression significantly predicted group membership such that aggressive/rule-breaking group had higher levels of maternal depression and victimization although the well-adjusted group had higher levels of maternal victimization relative to the hyperactive/oppositional group. Further, membership in higher externalizing groups at age four is associated with greater risk of adolescent delinquency at age 16. These findings underscore the need to address maternal risk factors in the treatment of childhood disruptive behavior and provide evidence of the continuity of disruptive behaviors from early childhood to adolescence.

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