Co-occurrence of Externalizing Behaviors and Internalizing Symptoms in Youth
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The failure theory suggests that factors related to poor interpersonal relations and academic difficulties may mediate the association between externalizing and internalizing problems. The present study uses youth-, parent-, and teacher-reported longitudinal data on a sample of 486 boys and 430 girls to test the predictive association from externalizing to internalizing problems and to examine the roles and unique effects of peer rejection, parent-child conflict, and academic competence in this association from late childhood to early adolescence. Findings reveal that at fourth grade, externalizing behaviors was higher for boys and the internalizing symptoms was higher for girls. On average, both externalizing and internalizing problems showed a slight decline though variability about the mean trends was significant. Using dual-domain latent growth modeling, no significant predictive association was found either from the intercept or slope factor of externalizing behaviors to the slope factor of internalizing symptoms. Using three-variable latent growth modeling, conclusive evidence was found for mediation by parent-child conflict. Externalizing behaviors contributed to high rates of increase of parent-child conflict, which in turn contributed to high rates of increase of internalizing symptoms. On the other hand, peer rejection and academic competence were not significant mediators. No significant gender differences were found. In addition, externalizing behaviors also predicted poor academic competence over the years. Implications to prevention and intervention programs for youth with co-occurring problems were discussed.
- Education - Seattle