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The implications of different developmental patterns of disruptive behavior problems for school adjustment

  • ELIZABETH A. STORMSHAK (a1), KAREN L. BIERMAN (a1) and THE CONDUCT PROBLEMS PREVENTION RESEARCH GROUP

Abstract

Based upon developmental models of disruptive behavior problems, this study examined the hypothesis that the nature of a child's externalizing problems at home may be important in predicting the probability of and nature of school adjustment problems at school entry. Parent ratings were collected for a sample of 631 behaviorally disruptive children using the Child Behavior Checklist. Confirmatory factor analyses revealed differentiated ratings of oppositional, aggressive, and hyperactive/inattentive behaviors at home. Teacher and peer nominations assessed school adjustment at the end of first grade. As expected from a developmental perspective, aggressive behaviors indicated more severe dysfunction and were more likely to generalize to the school setting than were oppositional behaviors. Hyperactive/inattentive behaviors at home led to more classroom disruption than did aggressive or oppositional behaviors. Co-occurring patterns of oppositional/aggressive and hyperactive/inattentive behaviors were more common than were single-problem patterns, and were associated with broad dysfunction in the social and classroom contexts. The results were interpreted within a developmental framework, in which oppositional, aggressive, and hyperactive/inattentive behaviors may reflect distinct (as well as shared) developmental processes that have implications for the home-to-school generalization of behavior problems and subsequent school adjustment.

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Corresponding author

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Karen L. Bierman, Department of Psychology, Pennsylvania State University, 522 Moore Building, University Park, PA 16802; E-mail: kb2@psu.edu.

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The implications of different developmental patterns of disruptive behavior problems for school adjustment

  • ELIZABETH A. STORMSHAK (a1), KAREN L. BIERMAN (a1) and THE CONDUCT PROBLEMS PREVENTION RESEARCH GROUP

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