The predictive utility of early childhood disruptive behaviors for school-age social functioning

Lauretta M. Brennan, Daniel S. Shaw, Thomas J. Dishion, Melvin N. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Research suggests that school-age children with disruptive behavior (DB) problems frequently demonstrate impaired social skills and experience rejection from peers, which plays a crucial role in the pathway to more serious antisocial behavior. A critical question is which DB problems in early childhood are prognostic of impaired social functioning in school-age children. This study examines the hypothesis that aggression in early childhood will be the more consistent predictor of compromised social functioning than inattentive, hyperactive-impulsive, or oppositional behavior. Participants included an ethnically diverse sample of 725 high-risk children from3 geographically distinct areas followed from ages 2 to 8.5. Four latent growth models of DB from child ages 2 to 5, and potential interactions between dimensions, were used to predict latent parent and teacher ratings of school-age social dysfunction. Analyses were conducted in a multi-group format to examine potential differences between intervention and control group participants. Results showed that age 2 aggression was the DB problem most consistently associated with both parent- and teacher-rated social dysfunction for both groups. Early starting aggressive behavior may be particularly important for the early identification of children at risk for school-age social difficulties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberA009
Pages (from-to)1187-1199
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Abnormal Child Psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015


  • Antisocial behavior
  • Early intervention
  • Externalizing
  • Prevention
  • Risk

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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