Understanding the Development and Persistence of Child Conduct Problems from Early Childhood to Early Adulthood
This talk will review select findings from a 20-year longitudinal study of the developmental precursors of antisocial behavior initiated when children were approaching 18 months of age. Guided by a bridging model that integrates social learning and attachment theories of child development and prioritizes assessment of transactional processes between parents and children, the study highlights the salience of assessing early indicators of family risk in predicting conduct problems in early and middle childhood, and more serious forms of antisocial behavior during adolescence and early adulthood. Specifically, the results implicate the independent contributions of parenting and maternal depression, assessed during the toddler period, in relation to trajectories of antisocial behavior during adolescence among low-income, urban samples of males. Implications of the results are discussed in terms of initiating prevention efforts during early childhood, targeting family factors associated with later adolescent problem behavior.