Girls' childhood trajectories of disruptive behavior predict adjustment problems in early adolescence.


BACKGROUND It is widely recognized that early onset of disruptive behavior is linked to a variety of detrimental outcomes in males, later in life. In contrast, little is known about the association between girls' childhood trajectories of disruptive behavior and adjustment problems in early adolescence. METHODS This study used nine waves of data from the ongoing Pittsburgh Girls Study. A semiparametric group-based model was used to identify trajectories of disruptive behavior in 1,513 girls from age 6 to 12 years. Adjustment problems were characterized by depression, self-harm, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), substance use, interpersonal aggression, sexual behavior, affiliation with delinquent peers, and academic achievement at ages 13 and 14. RESULTS Three trajectories of childhood disruptive behavior were identified: low, medium, and high. Girls in the high group were at increased risk for depression, self-harm, PTSD, illegal substance use, interpersonal aggression, early and risky sexual behavior, and lower academic achievement. The likelihood of multiple adjustment problems increased with trajectories reflecting higher levels of disruptive behavior. CONCLUSION Girls following the high childhood trajectory of disruptive behavior require early intervention programs to prevent multiple, adverse outcomes in adolescence and further escalation in adulthood.

DOI: 10.1111/jcpp.12339

Cite this paper

@article{Molen2015GirlsCT, title={Girls' childhood trajectories of disruptive behavior predict adjustment problems in early adolescence.}, author={Elsa van der Molen and Arjan A. J. Blokland and Alison E Hipwell and Robert Vermeiren and Theo A. H. Doreleijers and Rolf Loeber}, journal={Journal of child psychology and psychiatry, and allied disciplines}, year={2015}, volume={56 7}, pages={766-73} }