Predicting preschoolers' externalizing behaviors from toddler temperament, conflict, and maternal negativity.Dev Psychol. 2003 Jan; 39(1):164-76.DP
Rarely have researchers elucidated early childhood precursors of externalizing behaviors for boys and girls from a normative sample. Toddlers (N = 104; 52 girls) were observed interacting with a same-sex peer and their mothers, and indices of conflict-aggression, emotion and behavior dysregulation, parenting, and child externalizing problems were obtained. Results indicated that boys initiated more conflictual-aggressive interactions as toddlers and had more externalizing difficulties 2 years later, yet girls' (not boys') conflict-aggressive initiations at age 2 were related to subsequent externalizing problems. When such initiations were controlled for, emotional-behavioral undercontrol at age 2 also independently predicted externalizing problems at age 4. Moreover, the relation between conflict-aggressive initiations at age 2 and externalizing problems at age 4 was strongest for dysregulated toddlers. Finally, the relation between age 2 conflict-aggressive initiations and age 4 externalizing problems was strongest for those toddlers who incurred high levels of maternal negativity. These findings illustrate temperament by parenting connections in the development of externalizing problems.