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Parenting, culture, and the development of externalizing behaviors from age 7 to 14 in nine countries

  • Jennifer E. Lansford (a1), Jennifer Godwin (a1), Marc H. Bornstein (a2), Lei Chang (a3), Kirby Deater-Deckard (a4), Laura Di Giunta (a5), Kenneth A. Dodge (a1), Patrick S. Malone (a1), Paul Oburu (a6), Concetta Pastorelli (a5), Ann T. Skinner (a1), Emma Sorbring (a7), Laurence Steinberg (a8) (a9), Sombat Tapanya (a10), Liliana Maria Uribe Tirado (a11), Liane Peña Alampay (a12), Suha M. Al-Hassan (a13) (a14) and Dario Bacchini (a15)...


Using multilevel models, we examined mother-, father-, and child-reported (N = 1,336 families) externalizing behavior problem trajectories from age 7 to 14 in nine countries (China, Colombia, Italy, Jordan, Kenya, the Philippines, Sweden, Thailand, and the United States). The intercept and slope of children's externalizing behavior trajectories varied both across individuals within culture and across cultures, and the variance was larger at the individual level than at the culture level. Mothers’ and children's endorsement of aggression as well as mothers’ authoritarian attitudes predicted higher age 8 intercepts of child externalizing behaviors. Furthermore, prediction from individual-level endorsement of aggression and authoritarian attitudes to more child externalizing behaviors was augmented by prediction from cultural-level endorsement of aggression and authoritarian attitudes, respectively. Cultures in which father-reported endorsement of aggression was higher and both mother- and father-reported authoritarian attitudes were higher also reported more child externalizing behavior problems at age 8. Among fathers, greater attributions regarding uncontrollable success in caregiving situations were associated with steeper declines in externalizing over time. Understanding cultural-level as well as individual-level correlates of children's externalizing behavior offers potential insights into prevention and intervention efforts that can be more effectively targeted at individual children and parents as well as targeted at changing cultural norms that increase the risk of children's and adolescents’ externalizing behavior.


Corresponding author

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Jennifer E. Lansford, Duke University, Center for Child and Family Policy, Box 90545, Durham, NC 27708; E-mail:


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This research has been funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Grant RO1-HD054805, Fogarty International Center Grant RO3-TW008141, and the Jacobs Foundation. This research also was supported by the Intramural Research Program of the NIH/NICHD, and an International Research Fellowship in collaboration with the Centre for the Evaluation of Development Policies (EDePO) at the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), London, United Kingdom, funded by the European Research Council (ERC) under the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (Grant Agreement No. 695300-HKADeC-ERC-2015-AdG). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH or NICHD.



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Parenting, culture, and the development of externalizing behaviors from age 7 to 14 in nine countries

  • Jennifer E. Lansford (a1), Jennifer Godwin (a1), Marc H. Bornstein (a2), Lei Chang (a3), Kirby Deater-Deckard (a4), Laura Di Giunta (a5), Kenneth A. Dodge (a1), Patrick S. Malone (a1), Paul Oburu (a6), Concetta Pastorelli (a5), Ann T. Skinner (a1), Emma Sorbring (a7), Laurence Steinberg (a8) (a9), Sombat Tapanya (a10), Liliana Maria Uribe Tirado (a11), Liane Peña Alampay (a12), Suha M. Al-Hassan (a13) (a14) and Dario Bacchini (a15)...


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